Copyright basics

Original works and other subject matter are automatically given protection under the Copyright Act, regardless of whether the © symbol is present.

Works and other subject matter that are protected by copyright may include, for example, books, computer programs, articles, scripts, sculptures, engravings, artworks, films, and music recordings.

Fast facts for study

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Almost all the material you find on the web will be protected by copyright; therefore even where the material is freely accessible, you may only copy the material if one of the below exceptions apply.

Copyright owners have several exclusive economic rights, including, for example, the right to copy and communicate (electronically transmit) their work. Authors also have moral rights, including the right to have their work properly acknowledged when it is quoted, and the right not to have their work subjected to unreasonable derogatory treatment. This is one reason why it is important to acknowledge the sources you use.

When you cannot copy

There are limited exceptions under the Copyright Act that allow copying for time, space and format shifting purposes. However, staff and students must comply with the 'Music, Video and Software Piracy Policy', and this Policy expressly prohibits staff from using UOW's IT infrastructure to copy or communicate material for entertainment purposes.

 When you can copy

The Copyright Act does not stop staff and students from copying altogether, but it does impose rules regarding what, how much, and for what purposes you may use copyright protected material.

You may use material if any of the follow apply:


your actions fall under one of the following fair dealing exceptions:

Imageyou are using material for teaching purposes under our statutory licences

you are using material in reliance upon UOW's Music License for:

Imageyou are using the material in reliance upon the private use exceptions
Imageyou have permission from all the copyright owners
Imageyou are using the material in reliance upon s.200AB (includes exceptions for libraries and teaching)
Imageall layers of copyright have expired (see Australian Copyright Council's information sheet)
Imageyou do not copy a substantial part

Please note, there are other exemptions, however these are not relevant to UOW students or staff.  For information further information, see the Australian Copyright Council's website.