6 October 1999

A University of Queensland Master of Laws (Advanced) student has won the best student research prize at a national conference for a paper on meta-tags - the invisible indices search engines use to navigate around the World Wide Web.

In his paper and presentation to the Seventh Annual Communication Research Forum held at the Old Parliament House in Canberra, Noel Ramiscal discussed the legal and technical aspects of the use of the tags citing recent legal cases in the United States.

"PlayBoy Enterprises Inc was recently awarded $3.74 million in compensation by a United States court after several companies were found to be illegally using its trademark on their Web pages. They used the trademark
as a meta-tag to capture users surfing the Net and redirected them to their own and other pornographic sites," Mr Ramiscal said.

Formerly a tax lawyer in the Philippines, Mr Ramiscal, at the University on an AusAid scholarship, said he hoped his masters degree would lead to a career in intellectual property and entertainment law working with "super stars".

He said he was grateful to T. C. Beirne School of Law head Professor Tony Tarr and administration officer Marlene Moriarty for providing funds for his airfares to and from Canberra for the conference and to AusAid for his accommodation costs.

"I feel so appreciated in Australia. I love your openness and the fact you can succeed here on your abilities alone," he said.

The annual conference is organised by the Communications Research Unit of the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts with assistance from the Communications and Media Policy Institute at the University of Canberra.

The annual student research competition is open to all honours or postgraduate students undertaking research in any field or study related to communications policy or research. The sponsors for this year's award were the Centre for Telecommunications Information Networking and the Australian Broadcasting Authority.

For more information, contact Noel Ramiscal (email thecyberlawyer@asia.com).