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Unit Overview


This unit critically explores how Australian law regulates and fails to regulate creative expression, which is interpreted broadly to include content across the artistic, commercial, cultural and scientific domains. Examples of creative content considered in the unit include artworks, films, multimedia creations, advertisements, musical creations, designs (architectural, industrial, engineering, product design, web design, trademark logos), computer software, literary and dramatic works (articles, books, poems and plays), performances, inventions and industrial secrets (agricultural, scientific and engineering). The unit briefly surveys a number of laws, which may include intellectual property laws, defamation, privacy, trade practices, contract and censorship, and investigates how those laws can both protect and impede creative expression. The focus of the unit is on the socio-legal issues generated by those laws in the context of creative expression. Students gain an understanding of, and critically reflect on, how a mix of Australian laws regulate what we can express, how we can protect what we express and how those expressions can and cannot be used by the creator and others.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 option in the Law and Society major sequence
  • Level 3 elective

Students are able to (1) describe how Australian laws regulate and fail to regulate creative content; (2) identify, explain and appraise the legal, ethical and policy issues relating to the regulation of creative expression; (3) critically reflect on and propose solutions to problems concerning the legal regulation of creative expression

; and (4) produce scholarly research on a socio-legal issue related to law and creative expression utilising legal and social sciences databases.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) tutorial presentation and participation; (2) essay; and (3) reflection papers. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Jani McCutcheon
Unit rules
LAWS1104 Introduction to Law
or LAWX1104 Introduction to Law
or LAWS1111 Law, Conflict and Change
or LAWS1120 Australian Legal Principles and Institutions
or LAWS1112 Adulting: Law for Everyday Lives
and LAWS2227 Law in Action
LAWS2221 Creative Expression and the Law
Advisable prior study
Digital Arts Minor students who have not completed any advisable prior study will be required to undertake a two hour legal research skills workshop and other seminars and learning modules at the discretion of the Unit Coordinator.
Contact hours
3 hours per week
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.