The tidal wave of automation is transforming every part of society, and the laws that govern Australian businesses are no exception. Here, we’ve outlined some of the ways that new technology is disrupting the legal context in which businesses operate – from the boardroom to the courtroom.
New legalities around digital business practices
Digital business has exploded over the last decade, and the boom shows no sign of abating. Rapid changes in how the global economy operates have left some jurisdictions scrambling to catch up. Some questions are less up in the air than others.
But it’s not just online-only businesses that are affected. For instance, the Privacy Act 1988 requires that you make customers aware of any data you’re collecting, and under the Spam Act 2003 it’s illegal for business in Australia to send unsolicited commercial electronic messages – i.e. it’s unlawful to add people to your newsletter list without their consent.
If you’re part of the 78% of retailers that is yet to think of a new strategy to survive after Amazon’s entry into Australia, be wary of rushing into new opportunities before making appropriate legal checks. Much of this comes under the Australian Consumer Law, which the Federal Government updated in 2010 to make it more relevant to digital markets. It’s important for businesses to understand how this legislation applies to them.
Rapid advances in technology are making it simpler for companies to file trademarks and patents. The digital revolution has also raised new questions around copyright and fair use. In 2016, the Productivity Commission published its final report into Australia’s Intellectual Property Arrangements. The Commission recommended a range of measures to balance the needs of producers and consumers in the digital economy, and suggested that Australia’s intellectual property (IP) laws be made more enforceable. The extent to which its recommendations are adopted is yet to be seen.
Keeping on the cutting edge
To ride these seismic shifts in the legal landscape, more and more corporate legal departments are, in turn, going digital. These teams are utilising new technology to track data, monitor costs, optimise discovery and act with agility, ensuring they can keep up with the challenges of the business world.
Whether you’re working towards senior corporate management or are an entrepreneur running your own business, a Master of Business Law can help you stay ahead of the ever-changing pack. Learn more about our leading online programs or speak to one of our expert Student Enrolment Advisors today on 1300 589 882.