Under copyright law, the copyright owner has a number of exclusive rights including the right to publish her/his work, control copying, prepare derivative works and publicly perform her/his work as well as the right to make the material available online.
Most expressions of creative intellectual endeavour are automatically protected by copyright. The copyright symbol is not required, but is often used to help remind people that the work is protected. For example, © Elton John 2003.
Copyright protects a variety of material, including:
For further information refer to the Australia Copyright Council’s fact sheet “An introduction to copyright in Australia” in the Resources section at the bottom of this page or the Smartcopying website.
The period of protection is different for different types of material.
General rule - Copyright lasts for the life of the author/creator, plus 70 years after their death
For further information refer to the Australia Copyright Council’s fact sheet “Duration of copyright” or 1.7 How long does it last? from the Smartcopying website. (Links in Resources section at the bottom of this page)
Copying for research or study purposes is permitted, and is known as "fair dealing". This allows a person to copy limited portions of a copyright protected work for purposes of research or study.
Under the "fair dealing" provision, it is considered fair to copy:
- one chapter of a book, or up to 10% of the number of pages
- one chapter or 10% of the number of words for text material in electronic form
- one article from an issue of a journal, newspaper or magazine - or more than one article if each article relates to the same subject matter
- a 'fair' amount of other works such as audio visual materials for study purposes
For further information refer to the Australia Copyright Council’s fact sheets "Fair Dealing: What Can I Use Without Permission" and "Research or Study" in the Resources section.
It is important to be aware that most material on the internet (such as text, images, photographs, software, animations, video footage, music and email) is protected by copyright in the same way as material in other forms. This means that you should not assume that you can print and/or download all material or sites you can access. Even emails and attachments may be protected.
Tips to remember:
- You need to read terms and conditions or copyright statements on website - this may state what material you are permitted or not permitted to use. If these state copying is not allowed this overrides the 10% rule and makes it necessary for you to seek permission for use from copyright owner.
- However, if no statements are visible, there are probably implied permissions (licences) for individuals in accordance with the "fair dealing" considerations for research and study purposes.
For example, if the site includes pdf files, print or email icons, you could assume that you have the copyright owner's authorisation to print and/or download material.
- Be aware that some material on the internet is there without the copyright owner's authorisation. You may need to check whether the material has been made available on the internet with the copyright owner's authorisation.
- Some material made freely available on the Internet is distributed by Creative Commons (an alternative licensing system so that authors, musicians and other creators can grant rights to the public to use their work without payment but still retain control over their copyright material).
For further information refer to the Australia Copyright Council’s fact sheets "Internet - Copying and Downloading” in the Resources section.
When do you need to obtain permission from the owner of copyrighted material?
- When you use something protected by copyright.
- When the material you wish to use is outside of the "fair dealing" (you use a substantial amount) provisions for research and study purposes.
- When there is a statement on a website that states you are not permitted to use the material.
- When you are unsure or concerned that you may infringe copyright - especially in relation to internet and multimedia products such as logos, graphics, music and motion pictures.
How do you get copyright permission?
- You need to get permission from the owner of the material, preferably in writing.
- For published material you should first contact the publisher, who may be able to give you permission or provide you with information on who to contact.
- For internet material, start by contacting the webmaster or sending an email to the general email address on the website.
Warning: Copyright infringement occurs wherever any substantial amount of copyright protected work is used without permission, even if the source is acknowledged.
For further information refer to the Australia Copyright Council’s fact sheets "Permission: Do I Need it?" and "Permissions: How to Get It" in the Resources section.
What is plagiarism?
Plagiarism involves using someone else's work or ideas as your own, as well as not acknowledging their ownership.
The following are considered acts of plagiarism:
- directly copying word for word another person's work or the internet without using quotation marks and acknowledging ownership
- paraphrasing and summarising another person's quotations or ideas without acknowledging them
- using the work of other students (with or without their permission), whether they are from or outside TAFE QLD, and claiming it as your own work
- using content found or paid for from a study help website e.g. an answers provided by another person
- using graphs, statistics or images without acknowledging the source
Tips to remember:
- Acknowledge all sources of information you have used
- Reference your sources correctly and display them in a reference list
- For referencing guidelines and help, refer to the Referencing Guide or talk to a librarian
Test your knowledge
As a student, there are some aspects of copyright law that will affect you during your studies.
Now that you have read the information try these quick questions to see what you know about copyright.
|If a work does not display the copyright symbol it is still protected?||Yes, it is not necessary for an author/creator to place a copyright symbol on a work, but it is a good idea to do so. The work will be copyright protected either way.|
|Copyright is legislation that protects the rights of authors/artists and limits the amounts that can be copied||Yes, that's right. Copyright is the legal protection for authors/artists against the unauthorised copying of their work, and includes all types of information mediums, such as print or electronic.|
|Everything on the internet is freely available for anyone to download or copy||No, it is a common misconception that anything on the internet is free to download or copy. Internet material is copyright protected.|
|Plagiarism is copying someone's ideas and using them as your own||Yes, plagiarism includes unintentional copying without acknowledgement as well as the more intentional copying of the work of others.|
Copyright is designed to protect the copyright owner against unauthorised use by others of their creative work.
- You should always check to see if there is a statement about copyright as this may state what material you are permitted or not permitted to use.
- Your responsibility in submitting your assignment is to present it as your own work.
- You must ensure that you acknowledge all sources of information fairly and avoid plagiarising by referencing correctly and placing resources used in a reference list.