- Introduction to Copyright
- Types of material protected by Copyright
- Copyright Ownership
- Copyright Duration
- Moral Rights
- Performer's Rights
- Copyright Infringement
- Exceptions to Copyright Infringement
Copyright is a legal protection afforded to creators of 'intellectual property'. The law is designed to provide a balance between rewarding creators for their works, thus encouraging further creativity, and ensuring reasonable access by users to those works. That is why the Copyright Act 1968 includes sections setting out the exclusive rights of copyright owners, as well as sections which specify the rights of users - the fair dealing provisions.
In Australia, copyright protection is granted automatically to creators of works by the provisions of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cmwlth). Provided a work is original, and has been reduced to a material form, such as print on paper, or magnetic code on a computer disk, audio or video tape, there are no requirements to register the work in any way.
The originality requirement asks only that the author of the work has used some skill, and has not copied the ingenuity and labour of another in making the work; not that the thought or idea embodied in the work be novel or new. Copyright protects only the expression of the idea, not its originality.
Until a work is "reduced to material form" there is nothing for copyright to protect. An off-the-cuff speech for example, would not attract copyright protection, whilst a written speech would be protected as a literary work.
In Australia, there is no requirement to place the copyright symbol or any copyright notice on a work, but this is a requirement in some foreign jurisdictions, and it serves as a reminder that the work is protected by copyright. It's inclusion also enables users to locate the copyright owner when they need permission to copy the work, so it is a wise move to include the copyright symbol, your name, and the year on your works;
eg. © Amanda Smith 1995.
Under the Copyright Act 1968 there are four categories of works, and four categories of subject matter other than works. (This is how they are referred to in the Act.) The list below is not exhaustive, but should serve as a general guide to the kinds of items which are protected by copyright. It is not unusual to find that there are several copyrights involved in one item; for instance, the protection afforded a book could involve the following:
- the text of each chapter (one or more literary works);
- the overall compilation of the book (literary work);
- the typography and layout (published edition);
- drawings and illustrations (artistic works);
- photographs (artistic works).
The four categories of works, with some examples, are:
Literary Works - poems, books (fiction and non-fiction), articles, short stories, rules to games, instruction manuals, song lyrics, catalogues, compilations, computer programmes, websites, and all other forms of writing (except trivial expressions such as titles or slogans - these may, however, be protected as trade marks)
Dramatic Works - plays, film scripts, screenplays, scenarios, and other works intended to be performed, such as choreographic works.
Musical Works - popular as well as ‘serious' scores and other combinations of melody and/or harmony. (note that songs include two types of works, literary and musical)
Artistic Works - paintings, sculptures, drawings, sketches, engineering drawings, patterns, photographs, engravings, cartoons, dress patterns, plans, maps, flow charts, diagrams, technical drawings etc, and works of artistic craftsmanship such as ceramics, wood carvings, etc.
(Multimedia Works will be classed by the individual underlying works which go to make up the whole programme.)
The four categories of subject matter other than works, with some examples, are:
Cinematographic Films - motion pictures, including documentaries, feature and animated films, television programs, videotapes, videocassettes, and other fixed or recorded sequences of visual images.
Sound Recordings - vinyl, acetate and compact discs, audiotapes and other fixed or recorded sounds, e.g. taped interviews
Broadcasts - radio, television and certain satellite broadcasts, that is, the signals of sounds and/or images transmitted by the broadcaster
Published Editions of Works - the publisher's layout, design and typesetting.
Usually the creator of a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work is the first owner of the copyright in it, but there are several exceptions.
One important exception is that copyrights in works made during the course of employment are owned by the employer and not the employee. In general, CQUniversity will retain copyright in all commercial or course-related materials created by staff, but will allow staff to retain copyright in their own 'scholarly works'. See the Intellectual Property Policy for details.
Ownership is more complex for certain works done by commission, and for sound or cinematic recordings.
In Australia, work done under the instruction of State and Commonwealth governments is owned by the Government and referred to as Crown copyright . In contrast, the US Government waives copyright from time of publication, thus all US Government materials are 'in the public domain".
Depending on the duration of the copyright, the ownership may pass to an estate after the creator's death, or be passed on as an asset by sale or dissolution of a corporation.
The duration of copyright protection is dependent on a number of factors, including the nature of the work, the time when it was made and whether it has been published.
The duration of protection for copyright works that have been published (or otherwise made available to the public) generally lasts for 70 years after the death of the creator. There are some exceptions to this general rule.
See this duration table for a guide to how long copyright lasts in Australia.
Material for which the copyright has expired, or has been waived by the copyright owner, is said to be "in the public domain" and may be used by anyone for any purpose, without limitation. However, best practice scholarship always involves fully referencing sources, to avoid plagiarism.
The Copyright Act 1968 also provides creators with certain non-economic rights known as moral rights. They are:
- the right of attribution of authorship of one's work, (the right to be named in connection with one's work);
- the right against false attribution of authorship; and
- the right of integrity of authorship (the right to object to treatment of one's work that has a detrimental effect on one's reputation).
Moral rights apply to all works and films (and works as included in films) that were in existence and still in copyright on 21 December 2000 and all works and films (but not sound recordings) created after that date.
An author's right of integrity of authorship in respect of a film is limited to the author's lifetime. In all other cases, moral rights endure for the term of copyright.
Due to the personal nature of moral rights, they may not be assigned (ie given away to another) or licensed. It is, however, possible for an author to provide a written consent in relation to certain treatment of his or her work that might otherwise constitute an infringement of moral rights.
Under the Copyright Act, performers have the right to prevent the unauthorised recording or live broadcasting or online streaming of their performances. Performers may also prevent certain dealings in unauthorised recordings of their performances.
A 'performance' includes a performance of a literary, dramatic or musical work (whether or not in copyright) or a performance of a dance, circus or variety act or an expression of folklore. However, reading, recitation or delivery of an item of news or information and the performance of a sporting activity are explicitly excluded. Participants in classroom conversations who may be included in videostreaming of lectures are not considered performers and their authorisation to be recorded is not required.
Because the owners of Copyright enjoy a number of exclusive rights, anyone who infringes those rights, or authorises someone else to infringe them, may be sued by the copyright owner. These exclusive rights include:
- reproducing the work
- publishing the work
- performing the work in public
- communicating the work to the public (eg. making the work available online)
- making an adaptation or translation of the work
There are also a number of criminal penalties under Australian and International law, particularly with regards to Movie and Music piracy.
See here for details on infringements. http://www.ag.gov.au/copyright/shortguide#9
So as to balance the rights of copyright owners with the needs of the public to have access to copyright materials, the Copyright Act provides a number of exceptions to the general rules regarding infringement of copyright.
Two statutory licence regimes are provided for educational institutions in the Copyright Act, to enable schools and universities to use extensive copyright material without first seeking permission from the copyright owners. Royalty collecting societies are assigned to provide a means of paying copyright owners equitable remuneration.
Under Part VA of the Act, Screenrights is authorised to licence universities for the copying and communication of Television and Radio Broadcasts.
Under Part VB of the Act, the Copyright Agency Limited (CAL) is authorised to licence universities for the copy and communication of print and graphic works.
The University has entered in contractual licence arrangement which allow various uses of certain copyright materials which would otherwise be infringements.
One major licence is the Music Societies Agreement, which allows certain copying and communication of music for educational purposes.
Additionally, the Library has access to millions of copyright articles and other copyright matter through their electronic databases and online collections. However, contracts between the library and the database vendors may limit the copying or communication of these resources to students. Always check with the library first before including any database resources in printed study guides. Do not reproduce articles or other items from databases on Blackboard etc. Instead provide links for your students to access the readings through the library themselves.
A fair dealing with a copyright work, sound recording, film or broadcast will not amount to an infringement of copyright if done for the following purposes:
- research or study;
- criticism or review;
- the reporting of news;
- parody or satire;
- the giving of professional advice by a lawyer; or
- for certain purposes by an educational institution or library (s200AB).
Whether an exercise of copyright rights amounts to a fair dealing is a matter to be determined on the facts of each case. Many factors may be taken into account. In the case of reproduction for research or study the factors include: the purpose and character of the use, the nature of the work or other subject-matter, the amount and substantiality of the portion copied, the possibility of obtaining the work within a reasonable time at an ordinary commercial price and the effect on the commercial value of the work or other subject-matter.
See here for more detail on Fair Dealing .
There are also exceptions to infringement in the Copyright Act that are specific to certain works. For example, the following acts are permitted:
- the making of a back-up copy of a computer program;
- the filming, photographing, drawing or painting of sculptures in public places and buildings;
- the public performance of a literary, dramatic or musical work by playing a television, radio or record player to
- residents at guest houses or premises where people reside or sleep;
- ripping music CDs which you have purchased to your iPod or digital media player for private use;
- filming or recording television broadcasts for private and domestic use.
Copying may also be done in certain instances without infringement of copyright when done by libraries and archives for students, researchers, Members of Parliament and for other libraries. See here for more detail on Library Copying .
The University can reproduce and communicate copyright material for people with a print or intellectual disability. In general, students who purchase a required textbook may be able to access a free PDF version of the text for use on a computer (magnified, or audio). This is arranged through the University's Equity and Diversity Office .
For more information, see Copying for people with Disabilities.