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Copyright for teaching staff

Copyright Basics

This guide provides copyright information and links, but not legal opinion, which is relevant to teaching staff in the University community. For copyright matters not covered in this Guide, including copyright surveys, licenses and breaches of copyright , contact the University Copyright Officer.  Help is also available from the organisations listed in the External Copyright Contacts box on the left.

Thankyou to the University of Canberra Library for allowing use of copyright information for learning and teaching. 

What is Copyright?

Copyright grants exclusive rights to authors and creators of works, the copyright owners, to enable them to determine how their work can be used so their moral and economic interests are protected. 

This means that copyright may restrict:

  • reproduction
  • publication
  • performance
  • communication to the public
  • adaptation of the work


You must obtain permission from the copyright owner to use material in the above ways. Generally, copyright lasts 70 years after the death of the creator of a work. However, copyright duration varies for different categories of material.

Exceptions & Special Agreements

The Copyright Act's
'Fair dealing' allows the use of text material without permission for the following purposes:

  1. research or study - 10% or one chapter/article
  2. criticism or review - must acknowledge the work
  3. parody or satire
  4. reporting news
  5. professional advice e.g. by a lawyer

(Australian Copyright Council Fair Dealing 2014)


Educational institutions also have special agreements with copyright owners to allow them to digitise and electronically communicate copyright material, see the JCU Copyright Guide,

Some works may be copied under Creative Commons licence.

What material is covered under Copyright?

Categories protected by copyright include:

  • Literary works - including books, newspaper articles, computer programs and compilations including anthologies and directories
  • Dramatic works - including plays, dance and mime
  • Musical works - including scores and combinations of melody and harmony
  • Artistic works - including paintings, drawings, cartoons, photographs, sculpture and craft work
  • Cinematograph films - including films, videos and TV programs
  • Sound recordings - including compact discs, tapes and records
  • Broadcasts - television programs and sound broadcasts
  • Published editions - the way in which an individual edition of a work is presented, including typesetting etc.

Check the duration of copyright for different categories of material.

We acknowledge the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first inhabitants of the nation and acknowledge Traditional Owners of the lands where our staff and students, live, learn and work.Acknowledgement of Country

Creative Commons Licence
Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA) 4.0 International License. Content from this Guide should be attributed to James Cook University Library. This does not apply to images, third party material (seek permission from the original owner) or any logos or insignia belonging to JCU or other bodies, which remain All Rights Reserved.