Copyright FAQs

Copyright FAQs

Common Questions for Copyright

What is copyright?

Copyright is the rights creators have over their literary and artistic works. Works covered by copyright range from books, music, paintings, sculpture, and films, to computer programs, databases, advertisements, maps, and technical drawings.

What does copyright protect?

Copyright protection gives the owner exclusive right to license their works to others, which can include copying, publicly performing, broadcasting, publishing and making an adaptation of it. No one can exercise those rights in relation to copyright material without the copyright owner’s consent.

How can I obtain copyright?

Copyright protection is automatic in Australia. From the moment an idea or creative concept is documented, on paper or electronically, it is automatically protected by copyright. There is no official registry to record copyright protection.

Who owns copyright between an author and a copyright owner?

An author is the person who creates a copyright work. A copyright owner is the person or company which owns the rights in a work or other subject-matter. If a copyright work is made by an employee during the course of their employment, the copyright vests with the employer.

How do I prove ownership of copyright if there is no system of registration?

If there is a dispute about ownership of copyright in a work, it may need to be resolved through negotiation or by a court. If the dispute is brought before a court, the court will consider all relevant facts and evidence including evidence from the parties and witnesses, previous drafts, sketches, working drawings etc.

What are moral rights in copyright?

Moral rights are personal rights that connect creators to their work and last as long as copyright even if the creator no longer owns the work (eg. after assigning the work to others). Based on their moral rights, the creators are entitled to take actions against any false attribution of authorship or derogatory treatment of the work etc.

How long does copyright protection last?

Generally, copyright lasts for the life of the creator and 70 years after death of the creator.

What is the © symbol?

Use of the symbol is not a legal requirement to gain copyright protection. However, it is recommended to place the © symbol on a work as a visible way to alert others that the work is protected by copyright and that all rights are reserved.

Can I use copyright material for the purpose of research or study?

A 10% rule exists when dealing with the fair dealing provision regarding copying materials for the purposes of research or study without infringing that copyright. However, the test is qualitative rather than quantitative. That is, copying less than 10% of a work can still be deemed an infringement if the essence of the work has been copied.

What’s the difference between Designs and Copyright?

A design registration provides protection in the visual features of the shape, configuration, pattern or ornamentation of the design, whereas copyright protects the original expression of ideas against copying of one’s work. Generally artistically works industrially applied and commercially exploited as 3D designs are denied copyright protection. A design may have been applied industrially if it has been applied to more than 50 articles, or to one or more non-handmade articles that have been manufactured in lengths or pieces.

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Disclaimer: This page has been prepared to provide general information and does not constitute legal advice. The information provided is not intended to create a lawyer/attorney- client relationship. Any information viewed or obtained on this site should not be relied upon as a substitute for detailed legal advice.