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Copyright is the protection of original literary, artistic works and other subject matter and is covered in Australia by the Copyright Act. The legislation affords creators of works certain rights, but balances these rights against the need for other people to access and use the works. 

 

More detailed information

Copyright basics

Copyright gives intellectual property rights to content creators. The Copyright Act governs intellectual property rights in Australia, this act explains how copyright words and how intellectual property can be used. In Australia there is no need to register for copyright. A work is protected as soon as it is in material form, like a written story or a recorded song.

You will generally need permission to use copyright material depending on how it is used. For example, copyrighted material may need permission before it can be uploaded to a website or a copy made, material used for study or research purposes may also have specific requirements before it can be used. For more information on what is protected under copyright please see the information sheet An Introduction to Copyright in Australia.

What material is copyrighted?

There are many different types of material that can be protected under the Copyright Act. For example:

  • Artistic works - paintings, memes, cartoons, craft and photographs.
  • Broadcasts - TV and radio.
  • Dramatic works - dance and plays.
  • Moving images - movies.
  • Musical works - scores.
  • Sound recordings - streaming music and CDs.
  • Written and published material - books, newspapers, websites, essays, poems and letters.

For a full list of material see An Introduction to Copyright in Australia.

How long does copyright last?

The duration of copyright can be varied on the different types of material and the law in effect at the time of creation. Generally, copyright applies to most intellectual property for the life of the creator plus 70 years. For further information on the duration of copyrights, including for different material see the information sheet from the Australian Copyright Council on the Duration of Copyright.

Useful links:

Intellectual Property Policy 

Australian Copyright Council 

Open Educational Resources (OER) 

Screenrights

Smartcopying

 

Copyright for students

Always cite all sources used and refer to your unit material to check which referencing style you should use. See the CDU Referencing Guide for information on citation.

As students, you will not infringe copyright if you use material for your study if it is “fair”.  The term “fair” refers to a reasonable proportion of the work being reproduced in your work, this could include in relation to hard copy and electronic copies:

  • 10% of the number of pages; or
  • One chapter, if the word is divided into a chapter.
  • An article from a newspaper, magazine or journal.

A student may copy a small portion of the material for criticism or review, for parody or satire or for reporting the news. A part of fair dealing is the obligation to reference where the material has come from. For more information on copying amounts that are deemed “fair” and using copyrighted material for study see the information sheet from the Australian Copyright Council on Research or Study.

Quick Guide- Can I use this material for my assignment?

Type of material

Can I use this copyrighted material?

My own image, drawing, diagram

Yes, you own the copyrighted material of the material you create. If using in an assessment piece it can use useful to give an appropriate label to indicate it is your own work e.g. Water filtration diagram was drawn by the author on 26 March 2020 during class.

Quotes

Yes, include a citation and page number as per the citation guides.

An image on the internet

Yes, include a citation. See the citation guides for using images in Academic Works.  

An image or diagram from a textbook

Yes, include a citation. See the citation guides for using images in Academic Works.  

An article I located on Library Search or Google Scholar.

Yes, include a citation. See the citation guides for using images in Academic Works.  

Copyright for teaching

The Copyright Act has special provisions to allow educational instructions to use material for educational purposes without needed to get permission from the copyright owner. Check each semester to ensure the resources that you use are still copyright compliant. When using copyrighted material in teaching cite the sources used. Under certain conditions, universities are covered by remuneration notices with Copyright Agency and Screenrights for licences to copy and communicate text, image, TV and radio.  See the information sheet from the Australian Copyright Council on Education: Copyright Fundamentals for further information

Quick Guide- Can I use this material for my teaching both in class and in Learnline?

Type of material

Can I use this copyrighted material?

All rights reserved but I have permission from the copyright owner  

Yes, keep a copy of the permission and send a copy to the Copyright Officer.

Material with a Creative Commons Licence such as images and open educational resources (OERS)

Yes, and use proper acknowledgement.

Material in eReadings

Yes, eReadings will be limited to 10% or one chapter if it is a book.

eBook

Yes, include a link directly to the item in Learnline.

An article I located on Library Search or Google Scholar.

Yes, include a link directly to the item in Learnline.

Music

Yes, if it is legally sourced and use proper acknowledgement.

The University Music Agreement Fact Sheet September 2020 (PDF, 791.74 KB)

Lecture notes, slides or text you created

Yes.

Broadcast, TV/Radio.  

Yes,  include a link directly to the item in Learnline.

Copyright for researchers

As a researcher, you will not infringe copyright when using material for your work if it is “fair”.  The term “fair” refers to a reasonable proportion of the work being reproduced in your work, this could include in relation to hard copy and electronic copies. For more information on copying amounts that are deemed “fair” and using copyrighted material for study see the information sheet from the Australian Copyright Council on Research or Study.

Managing copyright for publishing

Before you can publish material that has copyright protection, you will need to obtain written permission to use the material. Please see these two fact sheets from the Australian Copyright Council for further information:

How to retain copyright while publishing:

There are options that will allow you to retain your rights:

Options What might be helpful? How will it help?
Publish in a journal with self-archiving friendly agreements SHERPA RoMEO

Publishers have different policies regarding self-archiving and use of your published manuscript.

The SHERPA/RoMEO database allows you to check publishers’ policies on copyright and self-archiving.

Before you submit your manuscript to a publisher, check this database to determine how you can use your manuscript before and after publication. For instance, you can find out whether the publisher allows you to upload your manuscript in a pre-print and/or post-print version in an open access repository such as Charles Darwin University's Research Webportal.
Modify the Author-Publisher agreement to allow you to retain certain rights SPARC

In most Author-Publisher agreements, copyright is vested in the publisher rather than the author. A restrictive Author-Publisher agreement would limit access to your manuscript if you wish to archive your publications online.

SPARC in partnership with Creative Commons has produced a legal instrument known as the SPARC Author Addendum. The addendum modifies the traditional publisher agreement to allow you to retain the right to self-archive your manuscript in an institutional repository. For more information on the SPARC Author Addendum and how to use it, please see here

SPARC is based on US law and drafted by US lawyers, so it might not be fully applicable to the local context. For detailed advice, please approach the Human Research Ethics Committee or the Animals Ethics Committee

Use an alternative agreement Creative Commons

You might wish to seek options to incorporate different licensing arrangements to govern the publication of your article or research data.

Creative Commons licenses can be used to provide you with the ability to deal with your manuscript after publication. You might wish to seek OLA’s advice to incorporate the Creative Commons licensing arrangement into the traditional Author-Publisher agreement.

You might also wish to publish in a journal which implements Creative Commons licenses e.g. Springer Open, Public Library of Science (PLOS), Oxford Open Journals (OUP).

Contact the Copyright Officer for advice and/or training.