Australia Post's "Standard postcode file"

Mark Newton made this Freedom of Information request to Australian Postal Corporation

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was refused by Australian Postal Corporation.

Dear Australian Postal Corporation,

On your website, you offer a one-time download of a Standard postcode file for $110, including GST.

On that web page, you assert that the data is provided under a restrictive license with a set of permitted and prohibited uses.

The Australian Standard Postcode File is data which is in the possession of a Government agency, and I have a right to access it under section 11 of the Freedom of Information Act 1982.

In light of principles affirmed by the Federal Court of Australia Full Court in Telstra Corporation Limited v Phone Directories Company Pty Ltd [2010] FCAFC 149, and by the High Court of Australia in IceTV Pty Limited v Nine Network Australia Pty Limited [2009] HCA 14 (22 April 2009), it is also clear that assemblages of factual data are not copyrightable under Australian law.

The Australian Standard Postcode File is such an assemblage of factual data -- Or, in the language of the High Court in the IceTV case, an "industrious collection," bereft of the human creativity required to attract Australian copyright protection.

Therefore, I do not believe that Australia Post has any lawful right to restrict access to the document under Copyright, or to stipulate limitations on its use, subsequent disclosure, or the creation of derivative works.

I request disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act of the file I would have received if I had agreed to your terms and conditions, and had paid the $110 fee described on your website.

Given that the document I am requesting is already available to members of the public who pay a fee, I am expecting that the cost of performing a search will be zero. If there are any costs whatsoever arising from this application, you can realistically expect that I will challenge them and/or request their waiver.

Yours faithfully,

Mark Newton

foi, Australian Postal Corporation

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Peter Timmins left an annotation ()

Mark, I expect you'll get a reply that the document is not accessible under FOI.
Section 12(1)(c) A person is not entitled to obtain access under this Part to: a document that is available for purchase by the public in accordance with arrangements made by an agency.

Peter Timmins
Open and Shut

foi, Australian Postal Corporation

1 Attachment

Good morning Mr Newton,

I refer to your FOI request dated 19/1/2016.

Find attached my response.


FOI Officer
Australia Post

[Australia Post request email]

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