Date set for landmark AGL v Greenpeace copyright court showdown

SYDNEY, May 11, 2021 - Greenpeace Australia Pacific and AGL will face off in the Federal Court in Sydney on 2 June 2021 in a landmark case that could determine the ability of charities to use corporate logos for the purpose of satire, parody and criticism.

At a directions hearing in the Federal Court today, a date was set for the court showdown between the energy giant and the environmental charity. This comes after AGL requested last week that the court order the urgent removal of its logo from Greenpeace’s campaign which alleges that AGL is “Australia’s biggest corporate climate polluter” on the basis that the use of the logo allegedly infringed AGL’s copyright and trademark. On Friday the court refused to grant this interim order.

Greenpeace Australia Pacific’s General Counsel Katrina Bullock said that the case may have big implications for the democratic right to freedom of expression in Australia, with ‘fair dealing’ provisions largely untested in Australian case law.

“Freedom of speech is a fundamental component of any functioning democracy. In Australia there are ‘fair dealing’ exceptions to copyright in order to allow satire, parody and criticism”, she said.

”If Greenpeace Australia Pacific successfully defends this legal attack, it could set a powerful precedent about how the ‘fair dealing’ exception is applied by the courts which will hopefully allow other charities, not for profits, comedians and members of the community to criticise, parody and satirise without fearing litigation.”

“AGL, Australia’s biggest climate polluter, is prioritising this heavy-handed legal action to try to stifle our campaign – but we think AGL’s time would be better served shutting its coal-burning power stations, which are fuelling the climate crisis and making people sick,” Greenpeace Australia Pacific senior campaigner Glenn Walker said.

Greenpeace Australia Pacific will be represented by Maurice Blackburn and Frances St John (Tenth Floor Chambers). 


The case will be presided over by the Honourable Justice Burley at the Federal Court in Sydney. Court details and timing will be released closer to the date of the case.



Download photos of Greenpeace at the Federal Court here

Read Greenpeace’s report on AGL here

Read a media briefing of the report here

Images of the advertising creative and school strikers protesting at AGL’s Loy Yang A power station available here



Greenpeace Australia Pacific Communications Campaigner, Martin Zavan

0424 295 422[email protected]