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 It protects published and unpublished material, including material available in electronic form.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:
Creators also have Moral Rights. These are not commercial rights and cannot be assigned or licenced.
Moral Rights include:
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.
Copying for Research or Study (s.40, s.103C)
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)
NOTE: It is NOT sufficient that you copy a work merely to illustrate or explain your own work.
Parody or Satire (s.41A, s103AA)
Reporting the News (s.42, s.103B)
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)
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:
Copying limits (Print and electronic)
Literary, dramatic or musical (e.g. books, plays, scripts, conference papers, notated music)
Articles from periodicals, journals, newspapers, magazines
The Copyright Act does not define what constitutes a 'fair dealing' for:
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.
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.