Copyright protects everyone’s work. Whether you’ve created a document, an image, a video or a sound recording, copyright protects your creation so that other people can’t use your work unfairly.

When you want to use other people’s work, you must make sure that you use it fairly too. In the University teaching environment, this means complying with copyright on behalf of your employer.

  • You must consider copyright every time you copy or communicate other people's work. Copying is making a reproduction of an item. The copy can be in print (e.g. making a photocopy) or electronic (e.g. scanning a book or downloading a digital image). Reusing someone else’s work in a new creation is also a form of copying. Copyright applies no matter how much of an item is being copied, whether one paragraph or an entire book.

    You are communicating a work when you electronically transmit or make the work available online to view or download. You are also exercising the right of communication when you email or fax a work to someone else, play a film or sound recording or read out loud in public.

  • For a work to be protected by copyright, it must be in a material form and have a human author. Copyright protects the expression of the idea, not the idea itself. It protects published and unpublished material, including material available in electronic form.

    This means that books, conference papers, web pages, computer programs, journal articles, play-scripts, artworks (including book jackets and album covers), videos, music recordings, TV and radio broadcasts are all protected by copyright.

  • For works that are still in copyright, copyright generally lasts for the life of the creator plus 70 years. Please refer to the 'how long does copyright last?' guide for specific provisions.

  • The creator of a work is the first owner of that work until or unless they assign their copyright to someone else, generally, a publisher. Under the Australian Copyright Act, copyright owners have a number of exclusive rights, including:

    • Reproduction (e.g. photocopying, making slides, scanning, downloading)
    • Publishing (distributing copies for sale)
    • Performing or playing the work in public
    • Communicating to the public (e.g. make available online, send by email, deliver a conference paper
    • Making an adaptation or translation of the work
    • Do any of these acts in relation to an adaptation of the work
    • Rights may vary between different types of works
    • Rights are exclusive to the copyright owner (i.e. copyright owner may perform these actions or authorise someone else to do so)

    Creators also have Moral Rights. These are not commercial rights and cannot be assigned or licenced.

    Moral Rights include:

    • Right of attribution - The right to be acknowledged as the author/creator of the work – See Attribution & Referencing.
    • Right against false attribution - The right not to be falsely attributed as the author/creator of an unauthorised version of the work
    • Right of integrity - [no alteration, mutilation, derogatory treatment]
  • The ‘Fair Dealing’ provisions in the Copyright Act allow individuals to copy a reasonable portion from a copyright work for a limited number of specified purposes without the need to obtain prior written permission from the Copyright owner. Works copied under the ‘Fair Dealing’ provisions must only be used for the purpose for which they have been copied.

    Typical ways to use ‘Fair Dealing’ at the University

    Copying for Research or Study (s.40, s.103C)

    • Communicate material for 'joint research';
    • Copy an article for an individual student;
    • Copy material required for the preparation of a new course, book chapter or article you might be writing;
    • Copy material for inclusion in an assignment, thesis or project you are submitting for assessment.

    NOTE: You cannot rely on the fair dealing provisions for Research or Study to make multiple copies of copyright works or place material online for your students

    Criticism or Review (s.41, s.103A)

    • Copy material for a presentation to genuinely critique the material.
    • Communicate material where the purpose is to facilitate academic criticism and discussion.

    NOTE: It is NOT sufficient that you copy a work merely to illustrate or explain your own work.

    Parody or Satire (s.41A, s103AA)

    • literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works as well as adaptations
    • Audio-visual works (e.g. cinematographic films, sound recordings and broadcasts) If using material under this provision, you need to ensure that your use does NOT infringe the copyright in the underlying work
    • the creator's Moral Rights not to have their work treated in a derogatory fashion

    Other ways to use 'Fair Dealing'

    Reporting the News (s.42, s.103B)

    • The news must be reported in a newspaper, magazine or similar periodical, cinematographic film or communication and the work must be acknowledged.

    NOTE: Musical works cannot be played as part of reporting news under this provision unless the work forms part of the news being reported.

    Judicial Proceedings or Professional Advice (s.43)

    • A legal practitioner or person registered as either a patent or a trademarks attorney may rely on this provision to copy a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work for the purpose of judicial proceedings or giving professional advice.
  • You may rely on the Fair Dealing provisions to copy and use limited amounts of other people's material without permission from the copyright owner and free of charge for the following purposes:

    • Research or Study (s.40, s.103C)
    • Criticism or Review (s.41, s.103A)
    • Parody or Satire (s.41A, s103AA)
    • Reporting the News (s.42, s.103B)
    • Judicial Proceedings or Professional Advice (s.43)

    Copying limits (Print and electronic)

    Literary, dramatic or musical (e.g. books, plays, scripts, conference papers, notated music)

    • defined as 10% of the number of pages or if the work is divided into chapters, one chapter (applies only to works of more than 10 pages)
      for works published in electronic form 10% of the number of words or one chapter if the work is divided into chapters (applies only to works of more than 10 pages)
    • you may be able to copy up to the whole of the work if the work is out of print or is unavailable for purchase within a reasonable time. Please contact Ask The Library if you need to copy more than the given portions.

    Articles from periodicals, journals, newspapers, magazines

    • for articles contained in a periodical publication, one article from each for the same course or research
    • two or more articles from the same issue may be copied if they are for the same course or research

    The Copyright Act does not define what constitutes a 'fair dealing' for:

    • artistic works [e.g. photographs, graphs, drawings, maps, cartoons];
    • audio-visual materials [e.g. tapes, videos, DVD's, CD-ROMs];
    • anything which is not printed (e.g. a computer program or sound recordings);
    • unpublished material [e.g. manuscripts];
    • text or musical scores published in editions of less than 10 pages.

    Before using or copying these materials, you will need to assess whether your use is 'fair' even if the amount you wish to use is only small (e.g. a stanza from a poem or a clip from a film or video). Please refer to the 'five factors of fairness' for further information.

    1. The purpose and character of the dealing (i.e. copying in connection with a course of study is more likely to be fair than copying for research which may be used commercially);
    2. The nature of the work (i.e. it may be less fair to copy a work that has significant commercial value or which required a high degree of skill to create than a work with little or no commercial value or which required little skill to create);
    3. The possibility of obtaining the work within a reasonable amount of time at an ordinary commercial price (e.g. it may be fair to copy the whole of a work which is out of print or not available in reasonable time, but unfair to copy the whole or part of a work which is available commercially);
    4. The effect of the dealing on the potential market for, or value of, the work (e.g., making multiple copies of a work is less likely to be fair than making a single copy); and
    5. The amount and substantiality of the part copied in relation to the whole work (it may be less fair to copy a large or important part of the work than to copy a small or unimportant part).
  • Generally, copyright is infringed if the work or a substantial part of the work is used without permission in one of the ways exclusively reserved for the Copyright owner. Please fill in the take down request form if you believe your work has been infringed.