Isabella Alexander researches and teaches in the area of intellectual property law, specialising in the law of copyright. Her research lies mainly in the fields of legal history and copyright law.
Isabella joined the Law Faculty in 2012. She was previously Director of Studies in Law and Fellow in Law at Robinson College, Cambridge, and a Newton Trust Lecturer in Law at the Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge. Prior to being in Cambridge she practised as a solicitor at Clayton Utz in Sydney.
Can supervise: YES
Intellectual Property Law
Intellectual Property Law
Alexander, I & Gómez-Arostegui, HT 2016, Research Handbook on the History of Copyright Law, Edward Elgar Publishing.
This Handbook takes stock of the field of copyright history as it stands today, as well as examining potential developments in the future.The contributions feature copyright and history experts from across the UK, Australia, the United ...
Alexander, IJ 2010, Copyright Law and the Public Interest in the Nineteenth Century, 1, Hart Publishing Ltd, Oxford.
Alexander, I & Jankowska, M 2018, 'Rights in geospatial information: A shifting legal terrain', Melbourne University Law Review, vol. 41, no. 3, pp. 957-998.
© 2017 Melbourne University Law Review. All rights reserved. The growing significance of 'big data' raises new issues for copyright law, not least when the data is presented visually or graphically to generate new and useful information and insights. One such example is the case of digital maps. Maps and written descriptions of geographic information have long presented challenges for the law of copyright, most particularly because they are perceived as factual compilations. The appearance of maps, and the information they contain, has changed considerably over time. However, the last few years has seen an extraordinary transformation in the methods and practices of collecting, storing, representing and disseminating geospatial data and information. This article considers how copyright law applied in the analogue era to regulate the production and dissemination of geographic information, the effects of new technologies and digitisation on how law applies to geospatial data and associated products and systems, and whether either a database right or some other form of protection is required.
Alexander, IJ 2018, 'Cartography, Empire and Copyright Law in Colonial Australia', law&history, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 24-53.
Recent scholarship has established the centrality of maps and mapmaking to the imperial project, both as expressions of surveillance, spatial construction and control, as well as in the role maps played in making and supporting claims of property and ownership. Much less attention has been paid to the question of ownership in the map itself. This is important because the person, or entity, who owned the map could determine how the land depicted in the map was portrayed, and how access to that information was disseminated. It also affected how the map was perceived in terms of the authority, or accuracy, of its claims. This article examines several disputes that arose in colonial Australia over the ownership of maps, exploring how different interests arose and came into conflict in relation to their control, dissemination and commercialisation. It suggests that a consideration of these cases reveals the role that copyright law played as a technology of empire.
Alexander, I, Bond, C, Bowrey, K, Burrell, R, Handler, M, Greenleaf, G, Nicol, D, Nielsen, JL & Weatherall, KG 2016, 'Submission in Response to the Australian Productivity Commission's Inquiry into IP Arrangements Draft Report', UNSW Law Research Paper, no. 2016-51, pp. 1-39.
This Submission by nine intellectual property academics responds to the Draft Report in the Inquiry into IP Arrangements published by the Australian Productivity Commission on 29 April 2016 ('Draft Report').
In broad terms, the submission supports many of the goals of, and recommendations of, the Productivity Commission expressed in the Draft Report, but expresses concerns that some recommendations may not achieve the overall goals of the Commission, or reflect misunderstandings of the statutory framework.
The submission addresses many of the Commission's draft recommendations concerning copyright, patents, trade marks and geographical indicators, IP and public institutions, and IP's institutional and governance arrangements.
In 1771, Daniel Paterson entered into a publishing agreement with the bookseller Thomas Carnan to print and publish a travel itinerary known as Paterson’s Roads. This book was to become the most enduringly popular practical road book of the period. However, Paterson and Carnan were soon embroiled in litigation. This article examines the legal cases that arose when the geographical information contained in Paterson’s Roads was re-used, and improved upon, in a subsequent publication. It explores the background to the cases, focusing on what they reveal about the inner workings of the book and map trade of the period, as well as considering some of the broader historical ramifications. The article also demonstrates that these cases are of ongoing legal significance because they played an important role in developing some of the doctrines and principles of copyright law that continue to be controversial today.
Alexander, IJ 2014, ''Manacles Upon Science': Re-evaluating Copyright in Informational Works in Light of 18th Century Case Law', Melbourne University Law Review, vol. 38, no. 2, pp. 317-361.
Alexander, IJ & Fraser, MH 2014, 'Copyright Reform in Australia: Asking the Right Questions', Journal of Media Law, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 8-20.
Alexander, IJ 2013, 'A map, a poem and two copyright statutes', Australia and New Zealand Law and History E-Journal, vol. 2013, no. 5, pp. 1-12.
In 1671 the nautical instrument and mapmaker John Seller published The English Pilot, which contained a map titled `A General Chart of the West Indias. 1 In 1733, Jonathan Swift published On Poetry, a rhapsody, a sarcastic and satirical litany of advice to aspiring poets and critics, which included the quatrain: So Geographers, in Afric-Maps, With Savage Pictures fill their Gaps, And oer unhabitable Downs, Place Elephants for want of Towns. 2 In 1735 the first statute explicitly to provide legal protection against copying engravings was passed by Parliament.3 In 1767, that statute was amended by a second Act which explicitly extended that protection to cover maps, charts and plans
Alexander, IJ 2010, 'All Change for the Digital Economy: Copyright and Business Models in the Early Eighteenth Century', Berkeley Technology Law Journal, vol. 25, no. 3, pp. 1351-1379.
Alexander, IJ 2010, 'Landmarks in Australian Intellectual Property Law, by Andrew T Kenyon, Megan Richardson and Sam Ricketson', Cambridge Law Journal, vol. 69, no. 1, pp. 211-212.
Alexander, IJ 2007, 'Criminalising Copyright: A Story of Publishers, Pirates and Pieces of Eight', Cambridge Law Journal, vol. 66, no. 3, pp. 625-656.
Alexander, IJ 2007, 'The Internationalisation of Copyright Law: Books, Buccaneers and the Black Flag in the Nineteenth Century, by Catherine Seville', The Journal of Legal History, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 157-159.
Alexander, I 2005, 'Review of On the Origin of the Right to Copy by Ronan Deazley', Cambridge Law Journal, pp. 510-511.
Alexander, IJ 2003, 'Plus CA Change - Extension of Copyright Term in Australia', Intellectual Property Forum, vol. 55, pp. 6-22.
Alexander, IJ 2001, 'White Law, Black Art', International Journal of Cultural Property, vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 185-216.
Alexander, I 2020, 'The Challenges of Intellectual Property Legal History Research' in Austin, GW, Christie, AF, Kenyon, AT & Richardson, M (eds), Interconnected Intellectual Property Essays in Honour of Sam Ricketson, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 175-188.
A timely examination of fundamental issues in intellectual property (IP) law, with international perspectives looking across regimes, jurisdictions, disciplines and professions.
Alexander, IJ 2018, 'The Copyright/Design Interface in Australia' in Derclaye, E (ed), The Copyright/Design Interface: Past, Present and Future, Cambridge University Press, UK, pp. 226-268.
The law relating to designs in Australia has long been the subject of dissatisfaction. As long ago as 1936, Sir Owen Dixon referred to the Designs Act 1906 as ‘rather peculiar’1, while the interface between copyright and designs has garnered even more pointed criticism, being called ‘troubled’2, ‘vexed’3 and an area of ‘(perennial) confusion’.4 At different times Australia has adopted different approaches to the overlap, moving from potential cumulation (or dual protection as it is more commonly known in Australia) to demarcation and then to partial cumulation (for two-dimensional works) combined with demarcation (for three-dimensional works). Legislative implementation of these policies, however, has been far from straightforward. At each stage, Australia looked to the United Kingdom to inform its legislative approach. While never simply slavishly copying the UK’s legislative language, the tendency was at first to follow generally where the UK led. From 1968, however, the position of the two countries diverged, with Australia pursuing a stricter approach of demarcation until it adopted partial cumulation in 1989. Moreover, while the UK simplified its legislative provisions, Australia’s approach was to add further detail – an approach that has not necessarily resulted in greater clarity.
The first section of this chapter examines the history of designs and the copyright/design interface in Australia from 1852 to the present, while the second section briefly looks at some of the ongoing problems in this area. Although issues also arise as to the interrelationship between patents and designs, and to a lesser extent between trade marks and designs, this chapter does not address these in any detail.
Alexander, IJ 2017, 'Sayer v Moore (1785)' in Landmark Cases in Intellectual Property Law, Hart Publishing Limited, UK, pp. 59-86.
This volume explores the nature of intellectual property law by looking at particular disputes that have become landmark cases.
Alexander, IJ 2016, 'Determining infringement in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in Britain: 'A ticklish job'' in Alexander, I & Gomez-Arostegui, HT (eds), Research Handbook on the History of Copyright Law, Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham, UK, pp. 174-194.
Alexander, IJ & Crofts, P 2014, 'Taikato v R  HCA 28 Judgment' in Douglas, H, Bartlett, F & Hunter, R (eds), Australian Feminist Judgments: Righting and Rewriting Law, Hart Publishing, Oxford and Portland, Oregon, pp. 250-256.
Alexander, IJ 2010, 'Inspiration or infringement: the plagiarist in court' in Bently, L, Davis, J & Ginsburg, J (eds), Copyright and Piracy: An Interdisciplinary Critique, Cambridge University Press, New York, United States, pp. 3-16.
Alexander, IJ 2010, ''Neither Bolt nor Chain, Iron Safe nor Private Watchman, Can Prevent the Theft of Words': The Birth of the Performing Right in Britain' in Deazley, R, Kretschmer, M & Bently, L (eds), Privilege and Property: Essays on the History of Copyright, OpenBook Publishers, United Kingdom, pp. 321-346.
Alexander, IJ 2010, 'The genius and the labourer: authorship in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century copyright law' in Bently, L, Davis, J & Ginsburg, J (eds), Copyright and Piracy: An Interdisciplinary Critique, Cambridge University Press, New York, United States, pp. 300-308.
Alexander, IJ 2005, 'The lord chancellor, the poets and the courtesan: public morality and copyright law in the early nineteenth century', Law in the City: Proceedings of the Seventeenth British Legal History Conference, London, 2005, The Seventeenth British Legal History Conference, Four Courts Press, London, pp. 230-248.
Alexander, I, Burrell, R, Handler, M, Hudson, E & Weatherall, KG 2014, 'Addressing Copyright Infringement Online Through Secondary Liability and Website Blocking: A Submission to the Australian Government'.
This submission responds to two proposals by the Australian government to address online copyright infringement (1) expanding secondary liability for copyright infringement (the doctrine of authorisation) to increase the ‘incentives’ for network access providers to ‘cooperate’ with copyright owners, and (2) introducing a mechanism to allow copyright owners to apply to the court for an injunction to block overseas websites with the ‘dominant purpose’ of facilitating copyright infringement. The submission argues against the expansion of secondary liability, outlining the many problems that have resulted in recent years in Australia from legislative attempts to ‘clarify’ or codify the doctrine of authorisation. It points out the hybrid nature of the Australian law prohibiting ‘authorisation’ of copyright infringement, as a creature of both statute and common law, and how this impacts on legislative attempts to guide the courts. It also points out that internet service provider safe harbours, introduced as a result of Australia’s Free Trade Agreement with the US, would also undermine the government’s goals. In relation to website blocking, the submission reviews developments in Europe and elsewhere and suggests a range of safeguards and limitations that should be considered, including limiting availability of an injunction to cases of serious infringement, where the injunction will not impact on lawful access, ensuring that the order does not impact adversely on the ability of network providers to run a business, ensuring natural justice and procedural fairness. We also argue for a sunset clause to ensure proper review of its operation after an appropriate period. The submission also examines, and rejects, an argument that Australia’s bilateral trade agreements with the US, Singapore, Korea and/or Japan require Australia to expand the liability of internet access providers for copyright infringement by their customers.