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Journal of Law, Information and Science

Journal of Law, Information and Science (JLIS)
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Griggs, Lynden; Clark, Gene --- "Editorial" [1995] JlLawInfoSci 1; (1995) 6(1) Journal of Law, Information and Science 1


Very few Australians, and indeed any person living in an industrialised nation, would not have heard of the information superhighway, the internet, email etc. These developments will increasingly have a role to play in the way we function, the way we contract, and the manner in which information is disseminated across national boundaries. However one of the issues that is of concern is the intellectual property aspects of items sent along the information superhighway.

It is to this issue that Julian Thomas discusses copyright in Australia's new communications environment. He refers to the concerns that the existing legislation may not have the capacity to cope with the new technological realities. In particular the author looks at the recommendations of the Australian Government's Copyright Convergence Group and its August 1994 report Highways to Change: Copyright in the New Communications Environment. Thomas concludes that 'despite the attractions of the 'policy convergence' solution, copyright law does not necessarily offer the best way to regulate the traffic of intellectual and cultural work on the net.' Ultimately he considers that if Australia is to adopt some form of pioneering role in intellectual property protection into the next century then some form of comprehensive review is necessary.

The subject of the internet is also canvassed by Scott Taylor in his article on Computer and Internet Applications in a Clinical Law Program at the University of New Mexico. Taylor explains how the clinical learning method is an important aspect of legal education in the States as it combines the elements of professional skills and competencies to traditional legal theory. He explains how, at the University of New Mexico, they currently offer a clinical course in which students use email, the internet, on-line legal research, cd-rom legal research to prepare income tax returns for the working poor so that they can claim their income tax credit and low income rebate. The purpose of the course is to relate their substantive legal knowledge to practical legal skills whilst improving their computer literacy.

Graham Greenleaf, Andrew Mowbray, Geoff King and Peter Van Dijk examine a legal research facility now available on the internet. This being the Australasian Legal Information Institute. The aim of this is to provide access to Australasian legal materials via the internet. The authors comment that the existence of this facility is based on the premise that a substantial part of the information which is valuable for legal research should be publicly available. They outline the establishment of the Australasian Legal Information Institute and the technical and policy agendas that it is developing.

Micah Stolowitz, a United States Patent Attorney examines the intellectual property protection in the United States as a result of the latest round of GATT agreements. Provisional applications are considered, their features, advantages and pitfalls.

Alistair Inglis provides a timely piece on the utility of computer managed learning in the tertiary environment. After considering the present developments he examines some of the features that computer managed learning systems of the future should contain. He asks the question "Are the systems we have available capable of doing the job?"

Finally, Bob Moles and Eugene Clark consider the utility of Australia’s national clearing-house in law. They address some of the ideas about the role this clearing-house should play and invite readers to consider these matters.

This issue concludes with a number of book reviews. Finally thanks must go to Peter Jones and Rachel Davis for their assistance with the production of this issue.

Gene Clark and Lynden Griggs

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