Copyright for academic staff

The University pays an annual licence fee to the Copyright Agency (CA), which allows staff to make certain copies without seeking permission, from both print and online sources.

What can I copy?

  • 10% of a book or one chapter (whichever is greater)
  • one article per issue of a journal (or more if they're closely related in a topic area)
  • images (within limitations)

The nature of the source material will determine how much you can copy, and how you can communicate it to your students.

If you’re in doubt, contact the Copyright Officer for assistance:

Adding resources to Subject Readings also allows the Library to support you in maintaining copyright compliance. For more information about using the Subject Reading tool, see the Subject Readings guide for staff.

Using copyrighted material by type

What you can show/copy

You can show bought or rented videos (e.g. DVDs) in class for educational purposes without seeking permission. You can also copy a video that was recorded from a broadcast (see TV and Radio).

Educational purposes means the viewing must be integral to your lecture or tutorial and you can only show it to your students (no friends, parents, partners, etc.).


What you cannot show/copy

You cannot copy bought or rented videos (DVDs). Part IVA Division 4 of the Copyright Act only applies to the audio-visual recordings from broadcast programs, not commercial or hired video content.

What you can play

  • music and other recordings
  • music recordings from the four major Australian musical collecting societies (APRA, AMCOS, PPCA, and ARIA)

These may be played in class for educational purposes without seeking permission.

What you can copy

The University pays an annual licence fee to Screenrights, which allows staff to make copies without seeking permission.

You can copy:
  • music contained in any radio and TV broadcast for teaching purposes (as long as you attach the relevant notice).
  • podcasts of broadcasts

If the sound recording is being made available using UOW's music licence, you must attach a notice to the recording and include:

  • the title of each musical work
  • the name of each composer, lyricist and arranger of the musical work
  • whether the recording contains an ARIA Sound Recording, the artist/group and the record company label


The Library provides access to a large number of journals and ebooks through licence agreements with online publishers.

The content of the licences varies, but generally they don’t allow for multiple copies to be made. In this instance, you should provide your students with a link to the resource so they can access it directly.

What you can access

Under our licence agreements, access to online subscription resources such as databases, journals and ebooks is restricted to use by UOW students and staff.


Unless an author explicitly states otherwise, all text, images, videos, code, and other material is protected by copyright.

However, you can still copy text and images from the internet (even if a webpage includes a © symbol and an "All Rights Reserved" statement) because it’s licensed as long as the copying is for educational purposes.

What you can copy
  • links to web pages or resources made public with the consent of the copyright owner
  • images where sources are clearly attributed

Links to web pages that have not been made available with the copyright owner's consent may give rise to liability because it could be seen as inviting students to download infringing material.

The University pays an annual licence fee to the Australian Copyright Council, which allows staff to make certain copies without seeking permission.

The licence is statutory and legislated under Part IVA Division 4 of the Copyright Act and applies to copying material from both print and electronic sources.

You can receive television and radio broadcasts in class without seeking permission.

Additionally, the University pays an annual licence fee to Screenrights, which allows staff to make copies without seeking permission.

Screenrights allows you to:

  • record television and radio broadcasts for educational purposes
  • edit, make compilations and make further copies of recorded broadcasts
  • play audio-visual material to a remote site through video conferencing (as long as the material is for educationalpurposes and the audience is limited to students)

How can I distribute copies?

Copies can be sent via print or digital formats (CD/DVD, web, email etc.) for educational purposes.

Digital copies must include the appropriate copyright warning notice. Copies used in Subject Readings or Moodle must first be submitted to the Subject Readings team.

What does "educational purposes" mean?

Educational purposes includes University business supporting educational activities such as teaching and administration.

Distributing unlicensed online content

It's preferable to provide your students with the URL to web-based material rather than copying it for them.

Any electronic material must include the appropriate notice.

Licensing your data/research

Who holds copyright over your research?

  1. In the research sector (a university or other research institution), the employer usually holds the copyright to the research outputs.
  2. And the common practice for university students is to hold the copyright in their research.

Variations to both of these generalisations can occur, and you should check the university's IP Policy in the first instance.

Giving copyright permission to others

You're not permitted to exercise any of the copyright holders' rights (as in paragraph one) unless your actions fall within an exception in the Copyright Act.

However, copyright holders may give permissions to others to exercise those rights. These permissions are usually expressed in the form of a licence or assignment.

An assignment exists where copyright is transferred from one party (the copyright holder) to another. Alternatively, a licence merely extends permission to someone else (as in paragraph one).

What you really need to know

The Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research says:

"Researchers have a responsibility to their colleagues and the wider community to disseminate a full account of their research as broadly as possible."

In terms of research data, the best way to achieve this objective is to licence the data and to place it in a publicly-accessible repository (along with appropriate metadata etc.).

If you don't license the data, no-one else can use it!


The benefit of using the Creative Commons Public Domain Mark (PDM) is that the PDM Chooser creates machine readable code underneath the human readable mark.

This allows search engines and other software to determine the copyright status of the material being published.

Australian law states that moral rights also attach to copyrighted material upon its creation. Part 9 of the Copyright Act establishes moral rights for authors (authors may not hold the 'economic' rights to the work).

Moral rights in relation to an author include:

  • a right of attribution of authorship;
  • a right not to have authorship falsely attributed, or
  • a right of integrity of authorship (doing anything to the work that would be prejudicial to the authors reputation).

Moral rights:

  • generally exist in a work for the same period as copyright;
  • are not economic rights, and cannot be transferred or remunerated as is the case with copyright;
  • vest with authors and may not be disposed of or sold. However, authors may consent to waive their moral rights.

Copyright doesn't always subsist in everything that's published. This may be because:

  • copyright has expired, or
  • copyright never existed in the material

This is referred to as 'public domain' material. The Copyright Act doesn't recognise public domain because the term refers to material that is devoid of copyright. Nevertheless, organisations publish a lot of material (including data) that lacks copyright protection and they should apply an appropriate statement or marking to the material to indicate that status.

UOW recommends using the Creative Commons Public Domain Mark (PDM). However, if you wish to apply a specific disclaimer, you may choose to use the 'no known rights statement' as a template.

Before applying these markings, you should carefully consider whether copyright would nevertheless subsist in the material in other countries.

When copyright is missing

Organisations can choose to apply a 'no known rights' statement to material that is devoid of copyright or other intellectual property rights. These are simply another form of public domain mark. There is no prescribed format for these types of statements, but they should include content similar to the example below.

You should also consider whether you need to make reference to the exclusion of logos that might attract trademark protection when drafting these statements.

Example text

"To the best of [UNIT]'s knowledge:

  • there is no copyright or other intellectual property rights in [identify material] in Australia; and
  • it may be copied and otherwise re-used in Australia without copyright or other intellectual property right related restriction."

Using a copyright license

Protect your dataset

A dataset may attract copyright protection (as a literary work), if it meets certain threshold criteria of human authorship, originality, or creativity, for example.

On that basis, significant quantities of research data will attract copyright protection. It may not be reused by researchers (or anyone else) without permission.

Since the output of most research is intended for reuse, it is recommended that a license, such as a Creative Commons Attribution license, be applied to make that intention explicit.

Commercialise your dataset

In addition, appropriate author/copyright holder attribution details should also be supplied. Alternatively, you could choose to commercialise your data, in which case you should contact the Innovation & Commercial Research team.

There's no harm in applying for a Creative Commons license even if the data doesn't meet the threshold criteria for copyright. It will still serve as a useful way to make known how you would like to be attributed, in addition to applying a limitation of liability and warranty clause to the data.

If the data is entirely machine generated and compiled, the Creative Commons Public Domain Mark (PDM), or a no known rights statement, could also be applied.