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Welcome to an introduction to Copyright.

Copyright exists within an area of law known as intellectual property.

Copyright protects the rights of the creator, giving them the exclusive right to publish, print, perform or copy their original work.

The Copyright Act 1968 and its amendments govern copyright in Australia.

In addition to protecting the rights of creators, the Copyright Act allows access to others to use works under certain circumstances.

The following items are covered by copyright:

  • Literary works
  • Dramatic works
  • Musical works
  • Artistic works
  • Sound recordings
  • Films
  • Broadcasts and
  • Websites and other electronic formats, like email.

When these items are created, copyright is applied automatically.

Copyright lasts for:

  • The life of the creator plus 70 years or
  • Where duration depends on the year of publication, that is the creator’s birth date is unknown, it lasts until 70 years after the work is first published.

In Australia, “Public Domain” refers to when the copyright has expired in a work.

Copyright is important for both the copyright owner and the user of copyrighted items.

From the copyright owner’s point of view:

  • It is automatic
  • It gives the copyright owner the following rights:
    • Reproduction of the work
    • To make the work public for the first time
    • Broadcast or transmit the work
  • It also gives the following moral rights which are ascribed to the creator, regardless of whether or not they own the copyright of a work, as:
  • the right to be attributed when their work is used
  • the right not to have their work falsely attributed; and
  • the right of integrity, that is, not to have the work treated in such a way as to be prejudicial to the author's honour or integrity.

Copyright is also important for consumers as:

  • It allows copying, communication, publishing or performance of copyrighted items under certain circumstances, where
  • Permission is granted from the copyright owner allowing these activities,
  • A ‘reasonable portion’ of an item is to be copied for research or study,

An Educational Licence is in place, allowing the copying and communication of a ‘reasonable portion’ of :

  • journals, newspapers and sections of books and
  • off-air radio or television broadcasts

An insubstantial portion is being copied or communicated for educational purposes.

It is important to seek guidance regarding these allowances, as they are very specific, from the Copyright Information Officer if you are unsure of your allowances in certain circumstances.

DiReCt is a course readings management system at USQ which provides online access to all readings associated with a course. It is a system which manages online access, security, storage and copyright of course readings and resources.

All readings within course packs are included in DiReCt. Additional resources can be requested by lecturers. These include:

  • Digitised copies of readings and images
  • Readings hosted on external websites
  • Online journals and eBooks
  • Multimedia material.

A Copyright Policy and Website is currently under development at USQ. Should you have any queries or concerns regarding copyright, please contact the Copyright Information Officer.