4.2 What is the Copyright Act?
The Copyright Act 1968 legally grants and regulates the exclusive right of authors and creators in Australia to control the use of their work and their means to earn a living from their work. Copyright applies to literary, musical, dramatic and artistic works found in a wide range of media, including material found on the internet and on CDs and DVDs. The Act contains some exceptions which allow certain copying to be done without permission. These exceptions include provisions for fair dealing and the statutory licences that allow educational institutions to copy and print digital material. For more information, download a copy of Guidelines for Schools, TAFEs and Independent Educational Institutions - (Copyright Agency Limited - Australia)
Students can use the following as a guide when copying for study or research purposes:
Books: Up to 10% of the book or one chapter
Anthologies: One whole item [up to 15 pages]
Journals: One article
Copyright generally lasts until 70 years after the author's death at which time copyright lapses. The work then enters the public domain and it can be used freely without permission or payment of royalties.
In Australia, copyright law is set out in the Copyright Act 1968 and in court decisions which have interpreted the provisions of the Act. The Act is amended from time to time to keep the law up to date.
Some copyright material can be used without seeking permission. These exceptions include:
- Fair dealing for the purpose of research or study, which allows a student or researcher to copy 10% or one chapter of a published literary, dramatic or musical work of 10 pages or more and one article from a journal.
- Fair dealing for the purpose of criticism or review, which allows reviewers to make fair use of copyright material provided that they acknowledge the work.
- Statutory licences which allow educational institutions to reproduce and communicate material protected by copyright.
Work through each step in the module: