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Library Guide to Copyright   Tags: copyright, research, writing  

This guide provides copyright information and links, but not legal opinion, which are relevant to the University community
Last Updated: Nov 25, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

Copyright Basics Print Page



What Material is Covered under Copyright?

Categories protected by copyright include:

  • Literary works - including books, newspaper articles, computer programs and compilations including anthologies and directories
  • Dramatic works - including plays, dance and mime
  • Musical works - including scores and combinations of melody and harmony
  • Artistic works - including paintings, drawings, cartoons, photographs, sculpture and craft work
  • Cinematograph films - including films, videos and TV programs
  • Sound recordings - including compact discs, tapes and records
  • Broadcasts - television programs and sound broadcasts
  • Published editions - the way in which an individual edition of a work is presented, including typesetting etc.

Check the duration of copyright for different categories of material.

Art school

Art school by LUH 3417, under a CC BY 2.0 licence


About this Guide

Copyright symbol from

This guide provides copyright information and links, but not legal opinion, which are relevant to the University community including students, teaching staff and researchers.

For copyright matters not covered in this Guide, including copyright surveys, licenses and breaches of copyright, contact the University Copyright Officer (telephone 02-6201 5429).  Help is also available from the organisations listed in the External Copyright Contacts box on the right.


What is Copyright?

Copyright grants exclusive rights to authors and creators of works, the copyright owners, to enable them to determine how their work can be used so their moral and economic interests are protected. 

This means that copyright may restrict:

  • reproduction
  • publication
  • performance
  • communication to the public
  • adaptation of the work

You must obtain permission from the copyright owner to use material in the above ways. Generally, copyright lasts 70 years after the death of the creator of a work. However, copyright duration varies for different categories of material.


Exceptions and Special Agreements

The Copyright Act's 'Fair dealing' allows the use of text material without permission for the following purposes:

  1. research or study - 10% or one chapter/article
  2. criticism or review - must acknowledge the work
  3. parody or satire
  4. reporting news
  5. professional advice e.g. by a lawyer
(Australian Copyright Council Fair Dealing 2014)

Educational institutions also have special agreements with copyright owners to allow them to digitise and electronically communicate copyright material, see the UC Copyright Guide, sections 6 & 7 for details.

Some works may be copied under Creative Commons licence.

External Copyright Contacts

  • Australian Copyright Council
    Provides advice to people working in educational institutions, galleries, libraries and museums.
  • Copyright Agency Limited (CAL)
    Provides a legal and practical method for the public, business and government to copy published works
  • Screenrights
    Administers provisions in the Australian Copyright Act that allow educational institutions to copy from television and radio, provided payment is made to the copyright owners.

Content responsibility


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