Copyright law in Australia

Copyright law in Australia

In Australia, copyright law comes from the Commonwealth Copyright Act 1968 (Copyright Act). The Act provides students and researchers with a provision for copying material, known as the Fair Dealing exception, for research or study.

Copyright law in Australia is:

  • free-to-use
  • applied upon the creation of the work (there's no registration system in Australia)
  • endures for 70 years after the death of the author (although there are some exceptions to this)
  • applicable to all original work including artworks, drama, literary material, music, and video.

Australian copyright law won't:

  • protect your ideas, information, styles or techniques
  • protect any names, titles or slogans

For further information see An introduction to copyright in Australia from the Australian Copyright Council.

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 for the same research or course of study)
  • images (within limitations)

Using copyrighted material by type

You may copy artworks for study or research if:

  • the copying falls within the scope of the five fairness factors; and
  • you don't infringe the creators' moral rights.

You can copy 10% or one chapter of a published literary work (whichever is greater) for the purpose of study or research.

For hardcopy works, the 10% rule applies to the total number of pages and for electronic works it applies to the total number of words.

You may copy more than the above limits to the extent that the copying falls within the scope of the five fairness factors, and you don't infringe the creator's moral rights.

You can copy 10% or one chapter of a published dramatic work (whichever is greater) for the purpose of study or research.

For hardcopy works, the 10% rule applies to the total number of page and for electronic works it applies to the total number of words.

You may copy more than the above limits to the extent that the copying falls within the scope of the five fairness factors, and you don't infringe the creator's moral rights.

Film

You may copy artworks for study or research if:

  • the copying falls within the scope of the five fairness factors; and
  • you don't infringe the creators' moral rights.
Audio

You may copy music for study or research if:

  • the copying falls within the scope of the five fairness factors; and
  • you don't infringe the creators' moral rights.

The copying must be fair in relation to all elements of copyright, including the lyrics, musical works, sound recordings, as well as in the artistic works and text on the CD insert.

UOWs music licence

Under our music licence, students may make a video recording for educational purposes which includes music from the AMCOS/ARIA repertoire if the video recording is made by students as part of a course of instruction and if it's only played at a university event.

If you make such a video recording, you must comply with all of the following:

  • don’t use the material for acts not covered by the licence
  • don’t infringe the creator's moral rights
Sheet music

You may copy 10% of notated music for study or research. For printed sheet music the 10% rule applies to the number of pages, and for electronic works it applies to the number of bars.

You may copy more than the above limits to the extent that the copying falls within the scope of the five fairness factors, and you don’t infringe the creator's moral rights.

You may copy one article from a periodical publication, or two or more articles from a periodical publication, if they are for the same research or course of study.

Students may print or save (but not share) one copy of any article obtained from the Library's electronic journal collections for study, research, or personal use, as these collections are subject to licence agreements between UOW and various database vendors.

You may copy artworks for study or research if:

  • the copying falls within the scope of the five fairness factors; and
  • you don't infringe the creators' moral rights.

The amount you may copy for study or research depends upon the nature of the material you wish to copy.

If the material is an artwork, then artwork limitations apply.

If the website is a periodical publication, then the journals/periodical publication limitations apply.

If the material is a text, then you may copy 10% of the number of words. You may only copy more than this if:

  • the copying falls within the scope of the five fairness factors; or
  • the website provides permission and the website is authorised by all the copyright owners.

In the absence of direct permission, you’re allowed to print one copy of a PDF for your own use.

You may print one copy of a webpage's contents if the webpage (not the browser) includes facilities for printing such as 'printer friendly' pages.


What to consider before seeking permission

There may be times when you can’t copy material without the copyright owner's permission. 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.

Consider these eight questions before requesting permission for copyright:

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