Copyright guidance for students and researchers

Australian copyright law includes a Fair Dealing provision that allows students and researchers to copy and use limited amounts of other people’s material (third party material protected by copyright) in their study or research, without the permission of the copyright owner.

 You may include the copied material in work you submit to your lecturer or examiner, (including in your thesis) provided that you:

  • acknowledge it
  • do not share the copied material with others
  • do not use the copied material later if you intend to publish your work.

 Most of the teaching materials and resources that UOW provides you are protected by copyright. These are offered for your own educational purposes, and you are not allowed to reuse or share them without permission of the copyright owner. Improper or illegal use of teaching materials may lead to prosecution for copyright infringement. For example, you must not upload course materials to document sharing websites.

How much can you copy?

Copyright materialAmount you can copy for research or study (a reasonable portion)

Text and images from a literary, dramatic or musical work in a hard copy edition of 10 pages or more

10% of the number of pages, or one chapter where the work is divided into chapters.

Text and images from a literary or dramatic work in electronic form

10% of the number of words, or one chapter where the work is divided into chapters.

Text and images from a newspaper, magazine, journal or other periodical publication

One article, or more than one article in the same publication, where the articles are related to the same research or course of study.

Other material such as artworks, craftwork, designs, images, films, CDs, DVDs, and broadcasts of radio and television programs

Not specified, but essentially limited amounts, based on the five factors specified in the Fair Dealing provisions which allow you to determine what amount is a ‘reasonable portion’.

Material from the internet 

Not specified, but check the terms of use on each website. If the terms of use do not specify an amount: a limited amount based on the five factors specified in the Fair Dealing provisions which allow you to determine what amount is a ‘reasonable portion’.


These same limitations apply when requesting copies via Document Delivery.

When can you copy more than this?

Five fairness factors to consider

The Australian Copyright Act provides five fair dealing factors to consider when relying on the Fair Dealing exception for research or study.

If you want to copy artistic or audio-visual material, or more than a reasonable portion of text, you should first consider these factors to determine if your copying will be fair.

Fair dealing factorsAsk yourself these questions to determine fairness and a reasonable portion
The purpose and character of the dealing Is your copying genuinely for your research or study purposes?
The nature of the copyright material being copied Are you copying material that has been created with a high degree of effort or skill?
The possibility of obtaining the copyright material within a reasonable time at an ordinary commercial price How easily available is the material you wish to copy and can it be purchased at an ordinary commercial price?
The effect of the dealing on the potential market for, or value of, the copyright material Will your copying of the material affect the commercial value of the copyright material?
Where part of the copyright material is copied: the amount and substantiality of the copied material in relation to the entire source material Are you copying more than you genuinely need?

Reference and acknowledge the copied work

When you copy, reproduce or use other people’s material in your work, you need to correctly acknowledge the author and provide a reference to their material. The Copyright Act doesn’t specify what form the acknowledgement should take; this should be based on your specific discipline. See the UOW referencing and citing guide.


Disability Access Exceptions

The Copyright Act provides exceptions that allow for copying to be carried out to assist students with a disability.

Universities can search the Copyright Agency's Master Copy Catalogue to find works in alternative formats. If the material isn’t commercially available in the format you require, and with the appropriate features, you or the university can make accessible format copies. The Student Accessibility and Inclusion team can help with this, and other services.

If the material is available commercially, you can rely on this exception to copy the work: ‘Fair dealing for purpose of access by persons with a disability’.

Seeking permission to use copyright material

If you want to copy more than you are permitted, you will need to seek permission from the copyright owner.

Publishing your work

If you want to publish or promote your student work outside of UOW, you will need to reconsider any copyright material it contains. In most cases, you will need to seek permission from the copyright owner to include their material in any work you wish to publish.

UOW’s ownership of your work

In most cases, UOW students retain ownership of their student work. However, some exceptions and conditions apply. For example, in certain cases UOW will keep a copy of your work. For more information, read UOW’s Intellectual Property Policy.



Guide to Artificial Intelligence (AI) for University Students

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Copyright legislation in Australia

The rapid development of AI-driven communication and creation tools is outpacing Australian copyright legislation. While existing laws offer some guidance, the absence of explicit AI references introduces ambiguities relating to ownership, authorship, and liability.


Is my AI-generated work protected by copyright?

In Australia, copyright protection requires that the author a) has contributed “independent intellectual effort” and b) is human. “Independent intellectual effort” is exercising personal judgement and discretion in activities like research, analysis, evaluation, selection, arrangement and expression. Therefore, works created solely by AI are not eligible for copyright protection. 


Can my work infringe on someone’s copyright if I use AI?

UOW users should adhere to the UOW IT Acceptable Use Policy, which states: Unauthorised copying or communication of copyright protected material violates the law and is contrary to the University’s standards of conduct and business practices. A yet-to-be-resolved issue relates to the compliance of the original materials used to train AI. Australian copyright law does not specifically address data mining or the use of works for machine learning. Other jurisdictions, such as the US, do have Fair Use exceptions that might allow for use of materials for model creation. However, if AI training used illegally copied materials, and your output can be linked to these, you risk receiving a takedown or infringement notice from the original copyright owner. Users should review the Terms and Conditions of any AI tool used. 


Are there any copyright exceptions to using AI?

Even if your purposes are for research or study, there is no exception in Australian Copyright legislation that would allow you to upload material to an Artificial Intelligence tool that uses your uploaded data to build or refine its model, and which may be accessed by people other than yourself. This would include material from library databases such as journal article PDFs, or course materials, images, audio or video that you do not own the copyright to.  

Copyright help

Contact the Copyright Officer