Australian copyright law refers to the Copyright Act 1968 (the Act) which protects ownership of copyright material and allows certain rights to both copyright owners and users of copyright material.
Copyright protection covers the rights of:
- reproduction (copying or recording or adapting the copyright material)
- communication transmitting the copyright material to others online or electronically) and
- performance (causing the copyright material to be heard or seen by others).
The Act allows reproduction, communication and performance of copyright material without the copyright owner's permission under certain conditions. For student and researchers' use of copyright material see Fair Dealing. For educational institutions and libraries' use of copyright material see Educational Purposes. For categories and types of material protected by copyright see Copyright material.
Copy and communicate are terms mentioned in Australian copyright law.
To copy means to reproduce or duplicate something and refers generally to making a copy of a work by any means including by hand or photocopying, or scanning or recording by electronic means.
To communicate means to make something available online or to transmit something to others via electronic means such as online, or via email or fax.
Copyright infringement refers to the illegal use of copyright material, typically when all or a substantial part of material protected by copyright is used without the copyright owner's permission or is used in a way not permitted under Australian copyright law.
Copyright material is any material which is protected by copyright law. Most copyright material has a copyright owner who, under Australian copyright law, has rights over the material and how it is used.
Copyright material is categorised in Australian copyright law in two ways:
- works - literary, dramatic, artistic and musical works
- subject matter other than works - sound recordings, films, broadcasts and published editions
Copyright material is also known as third party material (or content) protected by copyright - material that has a copyright owner (or owners). Material protected by copyright includes written material, tables and compilations, designs, drawings (including maps and plans), paintings, photographs, sculpture, craft work, films (such as feature films, television programs, commercials and computer video games), software (such as computer programs and databases), sound recordings, performances and broadcasts (including podcasts and vodcasts of these) and text, including websites and emails and the typographical arrangement in a published edition of a work.
The copyright owner is usually the author or creator of the copyright material, unless ownership of the material has been signed over to someone else, eg a publisher.
The copyright owner has exclusive rights over certain uses of the copyright material. Depending on the type of copyright material, these exclusive rights include how the material is reproduced, published, performed, adapted or communicated.
Underlying rights refers to the separate copyright ownership which exists in some products, eg a film or video will usually have underlying rights (separate copyright owners) for the script, sound recording, music and animation.
A copyright owner may choose to allow others to use the copyright material in a limited way, eg by licence or contract for a period of time, or for a fee or under certain conditions.
Copyright ownership expires after a certain period of time - see Duration of Copyright. The author or creator of the copyright material retains the right to be recognised as the original author or creator of a work - see Moral Rights. For use of the © notice - see The © notice.
Copyright permission is authorisation from the copyright owner to use the copyright material in a certain way. Copyright material should only be used as permitted by the copyright owner or in the ways permitted under Australian copyright law, such as the exemptions for students (see Fair Dealing) and for educational institutions and libraries (see Educational Purposes).
For information on how to request copyright permission see Seeking Permission in the fact sheet Copyright considerations when publishing your student work (PDF).
Duration of copyright refers to the period of time that a work is under copyright ownership. After the expiry of copyright ownership, the material is no longer protected by copyright. See Copyright ownership – out of copyright? in the fact sheet Copyright considerations when publishing your student work (PDF).
Educational purposes is a term mentioned in Australian copyright law and means copying or communicating copyright material for a particular course of study or research program provided by UTS (including the administration of the course or program), or for maintaining the UTS Library collection. Under educational purposes an educational institution and its staff are able to make multiple copies of, and communicate, certain copyright material to students and staff. Key requirements and limits are shown in the fact sheet Staff Guide – Copying for educational purposes (PDF).
Fair Dealing is a provision in Australian copyright law that allows individuals to reproduce limited amounts of copyright material without the copyright owner's permission under certain conditions. The Fair Dealing purposes include :
- research or study
- criticism or review
- reporting the news
- parody or satire
- providing legal advice
Insubstantial part refers to a small part which is copied or communicated from copyright material. It is permissible to use an insubstantial part of copyright material without the copyright owner's permission. However, under Australian copyright law, the quality or relevance of the copied part is important, not just the amount that is copied. A very small but distinctive part of a work may be considered as a substantial part which – if used either without the copyright owner's permission or not as permitted under Australian copyright law (eg within the Fair Dealing provisions or the Educational purposes provisions) – may result in an infringing copy (see Copyright infringement).
Moral rights are the rights of authors or creators or performers to be recognised as the original author or creator of a work. Moral rights include the rights to:
- be attributed or credited for their work or performance
- not be falsely attributed or credited for a work or performance
- have their work or performance treated with integrity and not in a derogatory way.
Part VA of Australian copyright law covers the copying and communication of radio and television broadcast material by educational institutions for educational purposes. Under the Part VA provisions, UTS has signed a licence with the copyright collecting agency Screenrights which allows staff to use certain amounts of broadcast audiovisual copyright material without seeking permission from the copyright owner. UTS pays licence fees to Screenrights to support both this use of the copyright material and payment of royalties to copyright owners. The conditions which apply in using the copyright material can be seen in the fact sheet Staff Guide – Copying for educational purposes (PDF).
Part VB of Australian copyright law covers the copying and communication of print and graphic material by educational institutions for educational purposes. Under the Part VB provisions, UTS has signed a licence with the copyright collecting agency Copyright Agency Limited (CAL) which allows staff to use certain amounts of print and graphic copyright material without seeking permission from the copyright owner. UTS pays licence fees to CAL to support both this use of the copyright material and payment of royalties to copyright owners. The conditions which apply in using the copyright material can be seen in the fact sheet Staff Guide – Copying for educational purposes (PDF).
Reasonable portion is a term mentioned in Australian copyright law and is particularly relevant to the Fair Dealing provision, where a reasonable portion is defined as:
- a single copy of a journal article, or
- one chapter or 10% of a book of 10 or more pages, or
- 10% of the words of a work that is in electronic form.
The Fair Dealing conditions are shown in the fact sheet Copyright - What can you copy? (PDF).
Substantial part refers to any part which is copied or communicated from copyright material. Under Australian copyright law it is the quality or relevance of the copied part that is important, not only the amount that is copied. A very small but distinctive part of a work may be considered as a substantial part. A substantial part should only be used where permitted under Australian copyright law (eg within the Fair Dealing provisions or the Educational purposes provisions) or as authorised by the copyright owner.
Used correctly, the © notice is internationally recognised as showing the author or creator of copyright material and the year of creation or first publication, eg © UTS 2010. In Australia there is no requirement to register copyright, it exists as soon as the copyright material is created, eg written down in any form, drawn or painted or sculpted, photographed or filmed or recorded, etc.
Whilst it is not mandatory to include the © notice on copyright material (material that meets the requirements for copyright protection in Australia is automatically protected under the Copyright Act), it is an indicator of ownership that acknowledges the author or creator and provides information for those who want to access or use the work. A clear © notice provides useful information to all parties, eg
© UTS 2010. All rights reserved. For copyright permission contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information on the rights of the author or creator see Copyright Owner.