Film and Television Law

Subject LAWS70080 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 7 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

February, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start 25-Jan-2016
Teaching Period 22-Feb-2016 to 26-Feb-2016
Assessment Period End 25-May-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 29-Jan-2016
Census Date 22-Feb-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 15-Apr-2016

This subject has a quota of 30 students. Please refer to the Melbourne Law Masters website for further information about the management of subject quotas and waitlists.

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 24-26 hours
Total Time Commitment:

136-150 hours

The pre-teaching period commences four weeks before the subject commencement date. From this time, students are expected to access and review the Reading Guide that will be available from the LMS subject page and the subject materials provided by the subject coordinator, which will be available from Melbourne Law School. Refer to the Reading Guide for confirmation of which resources need to be read and what other preparation is required before the teaching period commences.


Melbourne Law Masters Students: None

JD Students: Successful completion of the below subject:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 2
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Applicants without legal qualifications should note that subjects are offered in the discipline of law at an advanced graduate level. While every effort will be made to meet the needs of students trained in other fields, concessions will not be made in the general level of instruction or assessment. Most subjects assume the knowledge usually acquired in a degree in law (LLB, JD or equivalent). Applicants should note that admission to some subjects in the Melbourne Law Masters will be dependent upon the individual applicant’s educational background and professional experience.

Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

The Melbourne Law Masters welcomes applications from students with disabilities. The inherent academic requirements for study in the Melbourne Law Masters are:

  • The ability to attend a minimum of 75% of classes and actively engage in the analysis and critique of complex materials and debate;
  • The ability to read, analyse and comprehend complex written legal materials and complex interdisciplinary materials;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate in writing a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and to critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate orally a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to work independently and as a part of a group;
  • The ability to present orally and in writing legal analysis to a professional standard.

Students who feel their disability will inhibit them from meeting these inherent academic requirements are encouraged to contact Student Equity and Disability Support.


Mr Jonathan Gill



Mr Jonathan Gill (Coordinator)

Phone: +61 3 8344 6190

Subject Overview:

The world‘s first feature-length film was thought to have been produced in Australia in 1906. The Story of the Kelly Gang told the story of Australia‘s most infamous bushrangers and received distribution in Britain and New Zealand as well as in Australia. From 1906 onwards, Australian films and television programs such as Picnic at Hanging Rock, The Castle, Shine and The Sullivans have helped to define the particular cultural identity of Australians. This subject explores the issues associated with the production, financing and distribution of such films and television programs, with particular reference to feature films and sport and drama television programming. The lecturer in the subject has been an in-house counsel at an Australian television network and this experience adds to the practical relevance of the subject.

Principal topics include:

  • Introduction to relevant legislation, regulatory and industry bodies and the structure of the Australian film and television industry
  • Copyright clearance issues
  • Moral rights
  • Breach of confidence and privacy
  • Sport on television
  • Film financing, production and distribution
  • Australian content regulation and the production of drama programming
  • Production and broadcast of advertising on television
  • Music: Use in film and television programming
  • Distribution and merchandising of film and television programming
  • Employment and contractual arrangements for film and television personalities.
Learning Outcomes:

A student who has successfully completed this subject should:

  • Have an advanced and integrated understanding of the legal principles related to the development, production, financing and distribution of Australian films and television programs, (including recent developments in this field of law and practice) (“those Legal Principles”)
  • Be able to critically examine, analyse, interpret and assess the effectiveness of those Legal Principles
  • Be an engaged participant in debate regarding the contractual, copyright and financing issues that arise in relation to the production, financing and distribution of film and television programs and advertisements
  • Have a sophisticated appreciation of the issues that arise in relation to the financing and distribution of film and television programs and advertisements
  • Have an advanced understanding of the relationship between the legal issues that arise and the commercial environment in which Australian films and televisions programs are produced, financed and distributed
  • Have a detailed understanding of the law and its impact on the Australian film and television industry as it relates to the production, financing and distribution of film and television programs and advertisements
  • Have the cognitive and technical skills to generate critical and creative ideas relating to film and television law and to critically evaluate existing legal principles and concepts with creativity and autonomy
  • Have the communication skills to clearly articulate and convey complex information regarding film and television law to relevant specialist and non-specialist audiences
  • Be able to demonstrate autonomy, expert judgment and responsibility as a practitioner and learner in the field of film and television law.
  • Class participation (10%)
  • Take-home examination (5,000-6,000 words as specified in the subject reading guide) (90%) (15 - 18 April)
  • 9,000 word research paper (90%) (25 May) on a topic approved by the subject coordinator

A minimum of 75% attendance is a hurdle requirement.

Prescribed Texts:

Specialist printed materials will be made available free of charge from the Melbourne Law School prior to the pre-teaching period.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Links to further information:
Related Course(s): Graduate Diploma in Communications Law
Graduate Diploma in Legal Studies
Juris Doctor
Master of Commercial Law
Master of Laws
Master of Public and International Law

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