Copyright guidance

What is copyright? It’s one of many intellectual property (IP) rights under Australian (and international) law.

It mandates certain rights and protections for owners and users of copyright material, meaning original works that include literary (text-based) material, artworks, music, drama, film and sound recordings.

It grants copyright owners exclusive rights over certain uses of their material, but it also provides specific exceptions that allow educational institutions - their staff, students, and researchers - to copy and communicate some copyright material.

Always remember:

1. If you copy somebody else’s work, you are a copyright end user.

2. It’s essential you know the limits and conditions that apply.

3. Copyright owners may take legal action against you if you copy more than the allowed amount.


The information provided here is guidance only and is not legal advice. It should not be relied upon as such.

This guidance is informed by the UOW Copyright Policy.

Copyright guidance for...

Students and researchers
A group of students crowded around some laptops in the informal learning spaces at the Wollongong Campus Library Creating your own content
A person's hands typing on a laptop Reporting a copyright breach

General copyright information

How long does copyright last?

There is no simple answer to this. Australian copyright law applies different durations of copyright depending on the nature of the material, time it was created and other factors. The Australian Government provides a table of various copyright durations.

Seeking permission

There may be times when you can’t copy material without the copyright owner's permission. For example, if you want to copy more than a reasonable portion under the statutory licence. Where possible, you should contact the copyright owner directly. Sometimes it is difficult to find or contact them so Australia has a number of organisations that act on behalf of copyright owners.

Contact the relevant agency to seek permissions for any third-party copyright material falling outside our exceptions and licences. If you're unsure who you should contact or have difficulty receiving a response, contact the UOW Copyright Officer.

Questions to consider before requesting permission for copyright:

  • Who owns the copyright?
  • How do I intend to use the material (now and in the future)?
  • Have I allowed enough time to receive a response from the copyright owner?
  • Is my request reasonable?
  • Is my request short and simple?
  • How much am I willing to pay if the copyright owner asks for a licence fee?
  • Where will I keep a copy of my permission letter or email?
  • What's my 'Plan B' if my request is denied?

Where to go for permission

Where and how you seek permission will usually depend on the type of copyright material you want to use. For unpublished works, the author will generally be the copyright owner. For published works, the author is often not the copyright owner; they will most likely have assigned copyright to the publisher. In each case you should ensure that the person granting you the rights to use a work is actually the person who owns those rights.

Type of materialExamplesWhere to go for permission
Literary works Books, journals, magazines, plays
  • Publisher of the material
  • Copyright Agency
  • For unpublished material contact the author
Artistic works  Visual arts, photographs, other images or illustrations
  • Creator of the material
  • Gallery or museum (if the work forms part of a collection)
  • Copyright Agency
Sound recordings/sheet music  Recorded music, sheet music, lyrics 
  • Record company
  • ARIA
  • PPCA
Cinematographic materials  Films, TV, DVDs and other recorded video material 
  • Production company/film producer
  • Screenrights
Government documents Reports, government publications, data
  • Check for copyright status or open licence
  • Government department or body

It’s important to remember that if the copyright owner cannot be found, it does not mean you can use the material without permission.

Dear Copyright Holder,

I understand that you are the copyright holder for the book titled 'Just like this: a book of examples', originally published in 2022 by Fique-Tishus Publishing Pty Ltd.

I would like to include several images - specifically Figures 1, 2, 5, 8, 15, 21, and 42 - from the above-mentioned book, in a research report I am co-authoring. A print version of the report will be distributed for free to 1,200 Aged Care facilities in Australia, and an online pdf version will be downloadable for free from our website. Your material will be acknowledged appropriately in both versions.

If you choose to grant permission, please sign this permission letter and return a scanned copy by email.
Thank you for considering my request.


Sadik Sample

University of Wollongong

By signing this permission request form, I declare that I am in a position to grant the permission requested, and I provide you with that permission.


Copyright notices

Universities are required to remind students of the limitations imposed by the Copyright Act.

Teaching staff must add the Copyright Notice to material they copy and/or communicate for UOW educational purposes including:

  • text material
  • images or graphical material
  • free-to-air Australian radio and/or television broadcasts

Materials held in Subject Readings are automatically covered by this notice and the Library will apply the notice to scanned material for you.

If you are adding material to Moodle, you will need to ensure the notice is added.

The notice should be displayed before or at the same time as the material being communicated. For example, on the first page of a PDF or immediately before the video in Moodle.

UOW Copyright Notice


This material has been reproduced and communicated to you by or on behalf of the University of Wollongong in accordance with section 113P of the Copyright Act 1968 (Act). 

The material in this communication may be subject to copyright under the Act. Any further reproduction or communication of this material by you may be the subject of copyright protection under the Act.

Do not remove this notice.



Copyright help

Contact the Copyright Officer