When you publish or communicate your work, you need to protect or manage your own copyright and respect the copyright of others.
Anyone can "quote" from the work of others, however there can be a fine line between quoting and the infringement of another’s copyright, based not only on the amount quoted or reproduced, but the nature of the work reproduced.
Any time that you make a work available to the public, either by distributing a hard copy, emailing to others, or by putting a digital copy online, you must ask yourself:
"Have I got the necessary permissions from any other copyright owners, or is my use of their work allowed under the Copyright Act 1968?".
It is important to note that you cannot rely on the "Fair Dealing for Research or Study" exception when it comes to publishing or communicating the work of others to the public. You may be able to rely on other fair dealing exceptions, such as "criticism or review" or "parody or satire", depending upon the purpose of your use.
You will almost always need permission to reproduce any artistic works, including photographs, charts, diagrams and maps, as well as audio-visual items, unless they are "in the public domain" (ie. the duration of the copyright period has expired).
Under Australian law, 'publication' and 'communication' are two separate rights that belong to the copyright owner.
Publication occurs when an author/creator supplies reproductions of their work to the public and the work has not been made publicly available before. Usually this will be done through a book or journal publisher, or perhaps a record company etc.
Communication is when the author/creator, or another authorised person, makes a work available online or electronically transmits it to the public.
An act of communication to the public can also be an act of publication. If you make your work available online, and it has not previously been made available to the public, you are arguably “publishing” it in terms of the Copyright Act. This is because you are supplying reproductions to the public - the public can download a reproduction to view, save or print.
If you reproduce material from another source in your publication, you will generally need get permission from the copyright owner in writing. This is in addition to the normal academic practice of referencing or acknowledging sources. If you are submitting a manuscript to a publisher you will be expected to secure these permissions yourself and to warrant that you have done so. Publishers often demand that you provide copies of the permissions. This is often referred to as obtaining 'copyright clearance'.
Examples of material for which you will have to get permission to reproduce include:
When requesting permission, you should be very clear about exactly what you want, how you intend to use it, the nature and purpose of the new work you are creating, the size and nature of the intended audience, and how you intend to distribute it. If you consult the websites of major publishers, you will often find quite detailed guidelines on how to ask for permission, or even an online form. You need to allow plenty of time for the process – plan months in advance. If you do not receive a reply from the copyright owner, you still cannot use the material. You should retain the permissions on file in such a way that you could produce them if required.
Copyright is automatic once your creation is in a material form. In Australia, there is no requirement to register it. As the author of a work or a maker of a film or sound recording, you will own the copyright in the first instance, as a general rule. However, if you are an employee, you usually do not hold copyright in work created during the normal course of your employment. For further detail on Staff and Student ownership of copyright, consult the CQUniversity Intellectual Property and Moral Rights Policy.
Identifying your ownership
Although there is no requirement to put a copyright statement on your work, it is good practice. It alerts the world to the fact that it is copyright material and advises who is the owner. You should give some thought to what you will allow people to do with your work. Do you want to reserve all rights to the owner, except for the user rights granted by the Copyright Act? In this case, you need do nothing, except put the copyright symbol © and “Copyright Your_name 2007”.
Or do you want to allow certain users to do more? For example, you might be happy for people to copy your material for educational purposes. You can write your own copyright statement specifying what you will permit users to do. This will effectively create an 'end-user licence'. Another approach is to use a standard end-user licence such as those provided by Creative Commons or GNU General Public Licence. The websites of these organisations contain a great deal of useful information on copyright and licensing content and take you through the process. However, if you expect to derive income from your work, you may not want to "give it away", so its important to understand your options before committing to an open access or copyleft style licence.
Contact the Copyright Officer for more information.
When you submit your work to a publisher, you will be asked to sign a publication agreement. Read it carefully. If it asks you to transfer your copyright to the publisher, you should make sure you understand what that means. If the transfer is not qualified in any way, it will mean that only the publisher will be able to reproduce, publish, communicate, perform or adapt the work. That means you will have to ask their permission to do any of these things. Make sure you retain some rights of re-use for yourself. Alternatively, you could retain the copyright and give the publisher a licence to publish.
Deriving income from your copyright
If you expect to derive income from your work, you could consider becoming a member of a copyright collecting society. The Copyright Agency Limited (CAL) is relevant to publishers, authors and illustrators. CAL is the body that collects the remuneration from educational institutions and government departments for the copying and communication of published material. It is then responsible for distributing money to copyright owners whose works are copied, but only if they become members of CAL. Becoming a member of CAL means you can quickly be identified as the copyright owner and receive any payments promptly. You can find out more about membership by visiting the CAL website.
If you write music, you could consider becoming a member of the Australian Performing Right Association (APRA). APRA collects licence fees for the performance of musical compositions in public, whether live or recorded music. For more information, visit the APRA website.
If you are a visual artist and wish to license your work for use by others, you could consider becoming a member of Vi$copy, which is a visual arts copyright collecting society. For more information visit the Vi$copy website.
(If distribution of your material is restricted to CQUniversity staff and students only, then you should refer to the Staff Guidelines - Preparing course materials.)
You may find yourself in the role of publisher if you manage a website, maintain a personal website, edit a journal, issue conference proceedings, or undertake any other kind of publishing activity.
As a publisher, you must make sure you have the permission of the copyright owner for each and every work (article, paper, book, photograph, map, video, sound file etc) that you plan to include in your website or other publication. Permissions must be obtained in writing – email is acceptable – and filed for future reference.
If you are establishing a website or other publishing operation, or organising a conference, you should have a publication agreement with your authors and other contributors. You need to obtain sufficient rights and assurances from them to ensure the ongoing viability of your publication. In general, this need only be a licence for first use, allowing the author to retain copyright. For further advice, consult the University Copyright Officer.
In late 2006, CQUniversity introduced an institutional repository (IR) called aCQUIRe.
An IR is a digital collection of a university's intellectual output. They are sometimes known as 'eprints archives'. IRs centralize, preserve, and make accessible the knowledge generated by academic institutions. IRs also form part of a larger global system of repositories, which are indexed in a standardized way, and searchable using search engines such as Google Scholar.
Staff are required to deposit the output of their scholarship and research in aCQUIRe, unless there is a legal impediment to doing so. See CQU's Institutional Repository Policy.
Most academic publishers now permit authors to deposit (self-archive) at least a 'preprint' copy of their articles in their institutional repository. Some allow the published version to be deposited after an embargo period. Check your publisher's contract.
However, staff need to be aware that any third-party copyright material will need copyright clearance for communication to the world in aCQUIRe, just as it does for publication. So, not only does this apply to the work of others you may be quoting or reproducing, if you assigned your copyright over to a publisher, you will need written permission to include your own work in aCQUIRe.
For more information, see the Guidelines for submission of work to the institutional repository aCQUIRe.
Research higher degree students are required to deposit an electronic copy of their thesis (PhD or Research Masters) so that CQUniversity Library can make it available online through the Australasian Digital Thesis (ADT) Program.
The hard copy of a thesis deposited in the granting institution's library does not constitute "publication" under the Act, however inclusion in an online database does constitute "communication" to the public.
Therefore, it is vital that students understand they cannot rely on the "Fair Dealing for Research or Study" exception when it comes to including third-party copyright material in their thesis, whether in the body of the work, or as an attached appendix etc.
All copyright material must either be used with permission or be removed from public viewing prior to deposit. Remember that such things as charts, diagrams and maps are complete artistic works, and you will need to request permission to reproduce them.
See the CQUniversity Copyright Guidelines for research higher degree theses.
See also OAK Law Project (QUT)'s Copyright Guide for Research Students.