Dr Rita Matulionyte
Newcastle Law School (Law)
- Phone:(02) 4921 6218
Rita Mutalionyte - Intellectual property, creative industries, and cultural heritage
From balancing copyright law to fit the needs of creative industry and public in the digital age through to protecting intangible cultural heritage, Dr Rita Mutalionyte’s expertise encompasses the intricacies of local and international intellectual property law.
Rita’s much-lauded PhD was completed at the prestigious Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property and Competition Law in Germany, and published by Edward Elgar Publishing.
Post-doctoral research followed, in both Japan - where she won a grant from The Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science - and Iran – where Rita investigated the need of both effective and balanced copyright framework that would support local creative industries in Iran.
Rita’s work since has impacted on legal decisions and new legislation across the globe. Since 2011, she has led a Sub-committee on Applicable Law and Intellectual Property Infringements for the International Law Association. Hailing from Lithuania, Rita speaks fluent German, Lithuanian, Russian, and Persian.
She already has over 30 publications to her name, including a book, ten book chapters, and many peer reviewed articles.
Rita is also committed to disseminating her work amongst the public, having written several articles for The Conversation and appearing in local media.
Specialising in intellectual property, Rita has been working on copyright law for the last 10 years, focusing mainly on copyright policy reform in Europe.
Rita has written several reports for the European Patent Office, Lithuanian Government, and South Korean Government, and presented to The World Intellectual Property Organisation and The Council of the European Union.
To present her research, Rita has been invited to conferences across the globe, from Hong Kong to Geneva, France to Japan.
The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is a plurilateral treaty with the goal of improving global standards for the enforcement of intellectual property rights in order to more effectively combat trade in counterfeit and pirated goods
“ACTA was promoted by many countries to try and fight against piracy, especially music and film piracy around the world”, Rita says.
“Eventually we as academics found it to be too stringent, too strict.”
With Professor Dr. Axel Metzger, from the Faculty of Law, Universität Hannover, Rita coordinated Opinion of European Academics on ACTA.
Their coordination efforts, as well as protests from the public, ultimately saw ACTA being rejected by vote in the European Parliament.
“That was a major turning point, afterwards in Australia and in many countries ACTA never got enacted,” Rita says.
Publishing in a digital age
Publishing is another area of great interest for Rita.
Investigating the publishing industry including the mass digitisation of books, Rita explains that Google Books’ U.S based digitisation project resulted in legal battles related to copyright issues.
“I have been analysing what potential lessons can be learned in Australia and Europe from this U.S experience,” Rita says.
Another area of interest for Rita is the question of the copyright legalities around ‘orphan works’– books that were published years ago whose right holders have been since lost.
Rita has been looking at the topic of eLending, and its impact on the publishing market, advocating for the extension of the Government subsidized Public Lending Rights (PLR) Scheme both in Australia and Hong Kong.
With colleagues, Rita is developing an interdisciplinary project to better understand the growing phenomena of self-publishing.
“Academics from creative industries will look at why a creator chooses to self publish,” she says.
“I will look from the legal perspective at consequences we have from copyright law, and an economist will look at how the publishing sector is changing due to the many self-published titles coming to market.”
Protecting cultural heritage
Since 2013, Rita has been researching the legal means for the protection of intangible and tangible cultural heritage.
“A big part of cultural heritage is not protected by intellectual property rights at all because it is old and has been passed from generation to generation and copyright only extends for a limited time,” Rita explains.
“What can happen is that big Western countries come and appropriate local knowledge for their own profits,” she says.
“Then all the exclusive rights go into the hands of foreign companies that make huge profits out of that whilst the local communities do not profit at all.”
As well as advising the Lithuanian Commission for UNESCO and the Ministry of Culture of Lithuania on the issues relating to intangible cultural heritage, Rita has been undertaking other research projects relating to balanced enforcement of cultural heritage laws in Lithuania.
Rita believes an interdisciplinary approach is essential to build capacity of cultural owners and enable them to profit if they so choose.
“Other areas of law then come into play to protect specific cultural heritage.”
“Then other non-legal aspects become relevant like business skills which enable communities to commercialise that folklore and those artifacts and help the culture to survive, or even thrive economically.”
Law and evolving technology
Asked about the lag between new technology and relevant legislation, Rita notes that law is merely a reflection of existing standards.
“The market actually finds the social rules first before the law comes in and puts them into legal books,” Rita argues.
“It is best for us to wait until the market stabilises before we enact a law, because we can’t fix it when the situation changes.”
“In the end, you cannot impose legal rules that do not correspond to values of most people or very strong groups.”
As for whether creators or users need the most protection in this ever-changing landscape, Rita believes a balanced approach is necessary.
“Right holders do have a right to claim some sort of realistic protection,” Rita says.
“Most creators and many publishers or record companies are small and medium sized and they need that protection.”
“Working from Newcastle, I have the pleasure of seeing creative communities at work here, and they need protection.”
“The creative industries and their consumers both matter.”
From balancing copyright law to fit the needs of creative industry and public in the digital age through to protecting intangible cultural heritage, Dr Rita Mutalionyte’s expertise encompasses the intricacies of local and international intellectual property law. Rita’s much-lauded PhD…
In the field of intellectual property law Rita's research focuses on a balanced approach to copyright in the digital environment, including copyright scope and exceptions online, enforcement and Internet service providers' liability issues, digital libraries and orphan works, authors' and performers' remuneration. She has been researching in this field for the last 8 years and has published numerous articles and book chapters in the field. She wrote several reports for the European Patent Office, Lithuanian government and South Korean governments. Rita also participated in coordinating European Academics' opinion against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) which played an important role in European discussions on ACTA and its eventual rejection by the European Parliament. Since 2007 Rita has been researching on the intersection of intellectual property and private international law. Her PhD thesis "Law Applicable to Copyright Infringements: A Comparison of the ALI and CLIP Proposals" was written in a prestigious Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property and Competition Law (Germany), was highly evaluated (summa cum laude) and published by Edward Elgar Pub. She also published several articles and book chapters in the area and participated in a number of conferences in the field. In 2011 she acquired a highly competitive grant from the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) and continued her research in the area as a post-doctoral research fellow at Kyushu University (Japan). Since 2011, she was invited as a leader of a Sub-committee on Applicable Law and Intellectual Property Infringements at the International Law Association. Since 2013 she has been researching the legal means for the protection of intangible and tangible cultural heritage. She been advising Lithuanian Commission for UNESCO and the Ministry of Culture of Lithuania on the issues relating to intangible cultural heritage as well as carrying other research projects relating to balanced enforcement of cultural heritage laws in Lithuania.
2007-2009 Rita was a tutor at Munich Intellectual Property Law Center (MIPLC) where she covered a range of topics in the area of intellectual property law. In 2010-2013 she got a position of lecturer at Leibniz University of Hanover (Germany) and was teaching post-graduate courses on International copyright law, Intellectual Property and Private International Law, as well Copyright liability online. Since 2014 she is teaching Intellectual Property Law and Internet Law at the University of Newcastle.
During 2004-2006 Rita was working as a chief of International Relations Department at the Law Institute of Lithuania where she was managing international partnerships and European-level projects. In 2008-2010 she was an academic event manager at the Academy of European Law (Germany) and was organizing legal training for judges in Spain and Portugal. In 2012-2013 Rita was working as a deputy-director for research at the Law Institute of Lithuania . Since 2014 she is a deputy-director of the Master of Laws at the University of Newcastle.
- PhD, Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg - Germany
- Master of Laws, University of Augsburg - Germany
- Internet Law
- Copyright Law
- Foundations of Law
- Creative industries
- Intellectual Property
- Information Technology Law
- German (Fluent)
- Lithuanian (Fluent)
- Russian (Fluent)
- Persian (excluding Dari) (Fluent)
Fields of Research
|180107||Conflict of Laws (Private International Law)||25|
|180115||Intellectual Property Law||75|
|Title||Organisation / Department|
|Lecturer||University of Newcastle
Newcastle Law School
|Dates||Title||Organisation / Department|
|1/10/2013 -||Associated Senior Researcher||Law Institute of Lithuania
|1/05/2012 - 1/09/2013||Deputy Director||Law Institute of Lithuania
|1/03/2011 - 1/11/2012||Research fellow/visiting research fellow||Kyushu University, Japan
|1/09/2010 -||Lecturer/visiting lecturer||Leibniz University of Hanover, Germany
|1/09/2007 - 1/08/2010||Scholarship holder||Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property
|1/09/2007 - 1/05/2009||Tutor||Munich Intellectual Property Law Center
For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.
Book (1 outputs)
Matulionyte R, Law applicable to copyright: A comparison of the ALI and CLIP proposals, Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd., U.K., 288 (2011) [A1]
Chapter (4 outputs)
|2015||Matulionyte R, 'Calling for Party Autonomy in Intellectual Property Infringement Cases', Intellectual Property and Private International Law, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK 664-68699 (2015)|
Matulionyte R, 'Acta¿s digital chapter', The ACTA and the Plurilateral Enforcement Agenda: Genesis and Aftermath 115-142 (2014)
© Pedro Roffe and Xavier Seuba 2015. The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is a new plurilateral treaty with the goal of ¿improving global standards for the enforcement o... [more]
© Pedro Roffe and Xavier Seuba 2015. The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is a new plurilateral treaty with the goal of ¿improving global standards for the enforcement of IPR [in order] to more effectively combat trade in counterfeit and pirated goods.¿ It was negotiated by Australia, Canada, the EU (and EU member states in their own national capacity), Japan, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland and the United States between 2008 and 2010, leading to the adoption of the final text on 3 December 2010. It is currently undergoing internal ratification procedures in negotiating states. It is open for signature until 31 March 2013; six signatories are needed before it comes into force. During negotiation ACTA was criticized by different stakeholders on many grounds. First of all, the secret nature of negotiations was condemned by the online community, academics, as well as by the institutions of the EU such as the European Parliament and the European Data Protection Supervisor. Secondly, critics argued that by negotiating the agreement plurilaterally, parties are trying to avoid the established fora for IP agreements (i.e. the World Intellectual Property Organization [WIPO] or the World Trade Organization [WTO]) and thereby threatening the established international institutional framework. Thirdly, although ACTA is intended to be a special agreement made under the auspices of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and thus not derogate from its obligations, some have argued that it may still violate TRIPS. Its legality in some of the negotiating states has been contested. For instance, in the EU, the European Commission has repeatedly made reassuring noises that it will not set any acquis-plus standards, but European academics have warned that ACTA may lack conformity with EU law and require additional action by the EU institutions. Its legality under US law has also been disputed. Various issues addressed by ACTA have been attacked by groups of academics as well as individuals worldwide, probably the most important of which being privacy and restriction on freedom of expression on the Internet, criminal liability and border measures. Last but not least, strong concerns were expressed by developing countries which did not join the negotiations, such as China, India and Brazil. Arguably, ACTA will be extended to non-negotiating parties by being adopted as a new baseline in bilateral negotiations.
D'Erme R, Geiger C, Ruse-Khan HG, Heinze C, Jaeger T, Matulionyte R, Metzger A, 'The impact of the Anti-Counterfeiting trade agreement on the legal framework for IP enforcement in the European Union', Constructing European Intellectual Property: Achievements and New Perspectives, Edward Elgar Publishing, U.K. 394-408 (2013) [B1]
|Show 1 more chapter|
Journal article (22 outputs)
|2017||Matulionyte R, 'A Boom of Self-Publishing and its Legal Challenges', European Intellectual Property Review, 754-754 (2017) [C1]|
Matulionyte R, 'Lending e-books in libraries: is a technologically neutral approach the solution?', International Journal of Law and Information Technology, 25 259-282 (2017) [C1]
|2017||Matulionyte R, 'E-Books and the Principle of Technological Neutrality: Should Public Lending Right Schemes Apply to E-Lending?', AUSTRALIAN INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY JOURNAL, 27 209-226 (2017) [C1]|
McIntyre P, Paton E, Gleadhill D, 'The System of Book Creation: Intellectual Property and the Self-Publishing Sector of the Creative Industries', Creative Industries Journal, 10 191-210 (2017) [C1]
|2016||Matulionyte R, 'E-lending and a Public Lending Right: Is It Really a Time For an Update?', European Intellectual Property Review, 38 132-139 (2016) [C1]|
Matulionyte R, '10 years for Google Books and Europeana: Copyright law lessons that the EU could learn from the USA', International Journal of Law and Information Technology, 24 44-71 (2016) [C1]
© The Author (2016). Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. Mass digitization projects that have been carried out by libraries and their commercial partners ac... [more]
© The Author (2016). Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. Mass digitization projects that have been carried out by libraries and their commercial partners across the Atlantic, such as Google Books and Europeana, are celebrating their 10th birthdays. This article analyses what legal challenges they pose to the copyright law systems, and how the US and EU jurisdictions have responded to them. In particular, the article identifies certain elements in the US copyright law system that played an important role in encouraging the creation of innovative and value-added services in the library sector. These elements include the transformative use doctrine, the restrictive interpretation of the market harm criterion and the openness towards commercial reuse of works. It is then discussed whether, and how, these elements could be better integrated in the EU copyright law system in order to foster the European library and information technology sector.
Matulionyte R, 'The Upcoming EU Copyright Review: A Central-Eastern European Perspective', IIC-INTERNATIONAL REVIEW OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND COMPETITION LAW, 46 439-468 (2015) [C1]
|Show 19 more journal articles|
Report (2 outputs)
|2014||Matulionyte R, Nam H, 'A Study on Legal Effect of Software License.', Government of the South Korea, 35 (2014)|
|2010||Matulionyte R, 'Online Copyright Liability: Leading European Cases', European Patent Office, 44 (2010)|
Grants and Funding
|Number of grants||3|
Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.
20161 grants / $2,500
Funding body: Faculty of Business and Law, The University of Newcastle
|Funding body||Faculty of Business and Law, The University of Newcastle|
|Scheme||Dean's Research Excellence Award|
|Type Of Funding||Internal|
20141 grants / $5,000
Digital Libraries Online: Copyright Law Challenges and Possible Solutions in the US, EU and Australia$5,000
Funding body: Faculty of Business and Law, The University of Newcastle
|Funding body||Faculty of Business and Law, The University of Newcastle|
|Scheme||New Staff Grant|
|Type Of Funding||Internal|
20111 grants / $20,000
The Law Applicable to Copyright: An Analytical Comparison of the Transparency, ALI and CLIP Proposals$20,000
Funding body: Japanese Society for Promotion of Science
|Funding body||Japanese Society for Promotion of Science|
|Scheme||JSPS Post-Doctoral Fellowship (Short Term) for North American and European Researchers|
|Type Of Funding||International - Competitive|
Number of supervisions
Total current UON EFTSL
|Commenced||Level of Study||Research Title||Program||Supervisor Type|
|2017||PhD||Protection of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Indonesia and Malaysia||PhD (Law), Faculty of Business and Law, The University of Newcastle||Co-Supervisor|
|2017||PhD||The Impact of Intellectual Property Rights on the Indonesian Innovation System Since TRIPS||PhD (Law), Faculty of Business and Law, The University of Newcastle||Co-Supervisor|