Brand Protection, Business Law, Business Names, Business Tips, Company Law, Consumer Laws, Copyright, Defamation, Ethikately IP Newsletter, Events, Intellectual Property, Internet and ecommerce, News Alerts, Not for Profit, On the Blog, Partnership Law, Privacy, Social Media, Trade Marks, Uncategorised

Considering outsourcing? Read this first…

by Kate Ritchie, Principal Lawyer and Trade Marks Attorney at Ethikate

As every business owner will eventually discover, there comes a point when the number of tasks to be completed outweighs the time available to do so.

No matter how organised and motivated you are, it is an inescapable fact that you are restricted by the number of workable hours in a day.
Spending two hours a day answering emails or one day a week preparing invoices for customers, may not be the best use of your time. So what’s the answer? Well, perhaps it’s time to consider outsourcing some of your workload to other people.

Thanks to the internet and the rise in popularity of cloud-based workrooms and storage systems that can be accessed from anywhere in the world, almost any task can now be outsourced. There are plenty of highly experienced freelancers registered online at outsourcing platforms such as UpWork, who are willing to work for reasonable rates and take some of the more time-consuming jobs associated with business administration off your hands.

However, as with everything, there are both pros and cons, which must be considered before deciding which elements of your business are suitable for outsourcing.

Outsourcing vs. employing staff

Before you start planning an outsourcing strategy for your business, you should think carefully about what positions you need to fill, and what kinds of jobs are typically outsourced.

It is worth considering that generally, you will have more control over full-time employees than contractors and freelancers because they are committed primarily to you and your business. With freelancers, you could end up competing for their time with other clients.

The biggest issue with taking on employees is that they become a fixed cost to your business and you may not be able to fully utilise them on a full-time basis, whereas when you outsource you can manage your expenses in real time and adjust terms in line with your needs in a way you can’t with permanent employees.

If you are considering outsourcing for your business, you will also need to make sure your insurance covers it. Check your professional liability insurance policy to ensure that as well as employees, independent contractors are covered for any claims arising from business-related activities they perform on your behalf.

Here are some of the outsourcing pros and cons:


  • Reduced costs foreign labour can be cheaper than domestic labour, pay for hours worked, rather than a permanent employee contract
  • Globalise your business – working with freelancers based in different time zones will allow your business to operate outside of normal hours
  • International element: utilising freelancers from different countries or those with language skills can provide you with a greater reach and understanding for your business activities overseas
  • Access better technology and specialised expertise – no need to send employees to expensive training courses or purchase the latest software, when you can outsource specific jobs to experienced small companies and individuals


  • An employer/employee relationship where trust and loyalty is nurtured can be harder to achieve
  • When working with freelancers whose first language may not be English, it is easy for messages to get lost in translation. Also, there may be cultural differences you need take into consideration.
  • When it comes to technology and working online, sharing information with non-employees can pose security risks, so you should ensure you are fully covered legally with NDAs etc.

Outsourcing definitely has some advantages. However, you need to carefully consider all pros and cons before deciding if it is the right fit for your business.

About the Author:  Kate Ritchie is a strategically focused Principal Lawyer and Trade Marks Attorney with both commercial and business services and legal experience. Kate has broad ranging competency in all aspects of legal services including intellectual property law, brand protection, commercial and business transactions, negotiation and alternative dispute resolution, internet law, privacy, competition and consumer law and sports law. Kate has worked with top-tier commercial law firms such as Clayton Utz and high profile companies such as Thiess Pty Ltd and Tatts Group. Kate founded Ethikate in 2014 with a passion for providing specialist advice and services in Intellectual Property Law, Trade Marks and Brand Protection Strategies, business and commercial law and entertainment and media law for startups, entrepreneurs and small to medium businesses.

Brand Protection, Business Law, Business Names, Business Tips, Company Law, Consumer Laws, Copyright, Defamation, Ethikately IP Newsletter, Events, Intellectual Property, Internet and ecommerce, News Alerts, Not for Profit, On the Blog, Partnership Law, Privacy, Social Media, Trade Marks, Uncategorised

Ethikate on Sky News Business

Ethikate’s Principal Lawyer & Trade Marks Attorney Kate Ritchie was recently featured on Sky News Business.

Kate’s interview with Chloe James covered business success, the legal sector, “disruption for disruption’s sake”, startups and small businesses.

Check out the full interview below.


Copyright, News Alerts, Privacy

In the News…The Dallas Buyers Club case changes the legal landscape for privacy and copyright.

downloading movies

Illegally downloading films to watch at home? Guess what, you can no longer hide behind your ISPs to avoid legal liability.

In a recent landmark ruling, some of Australia’s largest internet service providers (ISPs) were forced to provide Dallas Buyers Club LLC (Voltage Pictures) with the names and addresses of more than 4,700 of its service users who allegedly downloaded and/or shared the 2013 Oscar winning film Dallas Buyers Club on file sharing services including BitTorrent.

The ISPs – most notably iiNet, but also including Internode and Amnet Broadband and others – had previously refused a request to provide the information, claiming that Voltage Pictures had engaged in a practice iiNet’s chief regulatory officer called “speculative invoicing” ahead of the lawsuit. During the case, iiNet’s lawyers accused Voltage Pictures of using discovery letters to threaten those who had infringed its copyright into making settlements.

The judge who presided over the case is yet to determine the level of compensation Voltage Pictures can demand from individuals. He will also be approving the correspondence to be sent to the service users. His Honour further stipulated that a condition of the ruling was that the identities of the alleged ‘pirates’ remain confidential.

The decision to grant the order has already been described as landmark, and a huge step in the battle against global online piracy. The case is particularly interesting as it marks a much more aggressive stance on internet piracy and online copyright infringements by rights holders.

The case also raises an intricate legal matter – where two sets of rights come into direct conflict: the privacy rights of customers protected under Part 13 of the Telecommunications Act 1997 and rights holders’ exclusive copyrights under the Copyright Act 1967. However more on that in another blog.

Now that we know that there are enhanced legal avenues for copyright owners to identify and therefore take action against infringers, lets talk a little about online copyright infringement, piracy and how you can protect yourself and your business.

What is online copyright infringement and film piracy?

Online copyright is a term that refers to the protection of certain ‘works’ that are published on the internet. Some of the most common examples of copyright material includes films, music, art and literature such as e-books, blogs and website content. Copyright automatically vests in the author, upon creation of the works (unless the author is an employee or there is a written agreement to contrary). So, the very moment you upload your blog, your work is protected by copyright, assuming of course that it meets the relatively low threshold for copyright protection. More on that later.

Film piracy refers to the act of downloading, copying and distributing film without permission from the rights holder. With the rise of the digital age, there has been surge in film piracy because well, it’s just so easy for end users to download music and films from the internet. Using peer-to-peer sharing and streaming sites, like BitTorrent, is a form of film piracy and by using them you are violating the copyright of the rights holder. So, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should…or that it’s legal for you to do so!

Protecting your online collateral and respecting the copyright of others

In Australia, copyright is automatically protected under the Copyright Act 1967. Copyright protection is Australia-wide – and to some extent is also protected in overseas markets, where countries are parties to certain conventions and treaties that recognise copyright created in Australia. Copyright exists for a term of 70 years, post death of the author of the works. You don’t need to register copyright in Australia (despite what some less than desirable ‘copyright registration companies’ claim). In fact there is no official avenue to do so. As the owner of copyright, you have the exclusive benefits of being able to commercialise, licence, sell, reproduce and adapt your works, amongst other rights set out in the Copyright Act.

The rise of the digital age is wonderful for both innovation and competition. Start-ups, entrepreneurs and small businesses now have access to a global platform where they can sell, advertise and promote their business and compete directly with the top end of town. Unfortunately the flipside of this is that online collateral is more vulnerable to unauthorised use, and readily available content and images online can lull business owners into a false sense of security as to their right to use the online content or images as part of their own collateral. By the way, whether or not you know you are infringing copyright is no defence to liability for copyright infringement. I repeat, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should…or that it is legal for you to do so.

If you are sourcing online content and images, make sure that you are obtaining the content and images under licence or with the consent of the owner and make sure that your use is within the parameters of the licence or consent. There are plenty of royalty-free databases for images and online software programs that will allow you to easily check text or blog posts for possible plagiarism offences. If in doubt, seek advice before using third party material or, don’t use it – as I’ve mentioned, there are so many ways to use authorised material and to obtain a licence that there’s really no reason to take unnecessary risks. Remember, you work hard to create your original and unique material so respect that others do too and, if you want to use their content get the necessary consents and licences to do so.

On the flip side, you should also consider a monitoring system for your own brand and collateral as part of your overall online protection strategy. Online monitoring can include inspection of domain names, social media profiles and digitally published content such as blogs. Not only will this help to protect the integrity of your collateral from would-be infringers, but it can also mitigate your risk of infringing someone else’s content. If you suspect someone is infringing on your rights online, you can utilise various legal procedures such as ‘cease and desist’ letters or court proceedings to deter them. However, take care in doing so as you can attract liability if you make groundless threats. Save yourself a lot of stress, cost and risk by getting professional legal advice from a qualified intellectual property lawyer before you take any action against an alleged infringer. As I often say, you can’t get the law half right and worse still, if you get it really wrong you are going to be in a world of a hurt.

Need advice?

Safeguarding your intellectual property online (and avoiding liability for infringement) starts with developing a sensible, tailored strategy that considers a broad range of both commercial and legal factors to ensure that your business is fully compliant with, and protected by, the law. Copyright is but one legal basis for protecting your brands and IP. So avoid wasting time and money on trial and error or ad hoc generic processes that may or may not work for your business and get the right advice upfront, from a qualified legal professional who has the right skills and experience.

At Ethikate we are registered lawyers, trade marks attorneys and brand and IP protection specialists.  We can assist you in developing and implementing a tailored brand and IP protection strategy that works for you and your business. Contact us today to find out more.

Brand Protection, Consumer Laws, Copyright, Defamation, Intellectual Property, Internet and ecommerce, On the Blog, Privacy, Social Media

Part 1: Why your business needs a social media presence

Social media strategy


This is Part 1 of a 3 part series on social media – why you need it, your legal obligations and how you can mitigate your risks.


It is undeniable that the internet and social media have become the dominant force that determines how we connect with other people, businesses and brands online. Social media is now a powerful, cost-effective medium that can be utilised to enhance your business reach and help you establish your brand in the global marketplace.

Over the next few weeks we’ll look at why your business needs a social media presence, how to get started with the basics, and how to optimise your social media strategy. As well as considering the opportunities social media holds for your business, we’ll also be looking at some of the risks it can pose and how you can best protect yourself against possible pitfalls.

How can social media help?


Nowadays, when purchasing goods or services many people will check out a businesses’ social media page and/or blog. By creating a strong online presence that reflects your core values you can add a sense of authority to your brand.

Creating and implementing a consistent, targeted social media strategy can instantly provide your business with a sense of authenticity and credibility. Writing blog posts, sharing important news, or holding discussions via your social media profile can set you apart as a knowledgeable, helpful voice in your sector. This in turn will give customers the confidence to actively seek out your goods or services rather than turning to one of your competitors.


Social media is no longer restricted to certain groups and the majority of your customers probably use some form of it on a daily basis. By definition, platforms such as Facebook and Twitter allow you to be online and engaged instantly every single day of the year.

Capitalising on this cost-effective marketing tool can really boost your business and ensure that you are in direct contact with your customers. Social media allows you to post information, news and offers as they happen, helping you to create a strong connection with the people who matter to your business.

Interacting directly with people via a social media profile can also provide a much needed ‘human touch’ for your business, as well as creating a sense of familiarity and trust amongst current and potential customers.


As we’ve discussed previously, creating a strong brand is essential to the success of your business and what better way to consolidate your brand than through social media?

You can utilise the various platforms to relay your message as well as reinforcing your brand’s recognisability through the use of your logo, colour schemes and other visual aspects of your marketing materials. Social media is a great way of showing off your brand’s personality and establishing your business as a contemporary and accessible operation.

So, what next?

Social media is now an integral part of most people’s lives and as a business you should strive to optimise the way in which you use it to promote your brand. As we’ve discussed, your customers are now more accessible than they have ever been and the opportunities social media can give your business are extensive.

But, as with everything, there are risks involved with creating an online presence! Protecting your online intellectual property, as well as ensuring you are not infringing on anyone else’s rights or breaching any laws (such as Consumer, Defamation or Privacy laws) when publishing online content, is vital. It is also essential that your data and passwords are safeguarded from the threat of online attack or possible would-be infringers.

In Part 2 and 3, we’ll look at how to get started with social media, some of the practical issues you’ll need to deal with, how to minimise the risks we’ve mentioned, and how to ensure you are fully protected by the law.

Are you keen to boost your digital presence, but concerned about being vulnerable online? Want to learn more about creating and implementing a strong brand protection strategy that will safeguard your business online? Contact us at Ethikate today!

Internet and ecommerce, News Alerts, Privacy

News Alert

Your online activity a target of increased surveillance

old man privacy listening in

On the 5th August 2014, the federal government announced its plan to implement new laws by the end of the year that will require telco’s to capture and store information about your online activities via your metadata.

The amendments to the existing telecommunication interception laws is justified by the government’s perceived need ‘to combat home-grown terrorism and Australians who participate in terrorist activities overseas’.

So what is metadata? Essentially “metadata”  (or “communications data”) is defined in two ways:

  • Information that allows a communication to occur
  • Information about the parties to the communication

In other words, it includes sender and receiver information and the type of media used to make a communication (eg phone call, text messages, email) but excludes contents or the substance of a communication. However, the definition of metadata is still ambiguous and whilst URL’s are arguably intended to be excluded from the definition, evidence suggests that some telco’s are in fact providing URL use data to the extent that they deem the information to exclude the ‘content’ of the website.

Whilst the government being able to obtain metadata is not new, what is new is that there will now be a mandatory period of 2 years during which telco’s will be required to retain metadata. This new right of government agencies to be able to conduct mass surveillance, regardless of whether or not they suspect wrongdoing by a particular individual seems wrong to me. Even if the ambiguity as to what constitutes “metadata” is resolved, arguably metadata can be more telling about you than the content of communications themselves. A study by Stanford University students demonstrated that metadata can reveal vast information about an individual “including medical conditions, financial and legal connections, and even whether they own a gun”.

How do you feel about the government’s right to be able to conduct mass surveillance? Does the threat of terrorism justify it?