Researchers and Copyright
Copyright and research are heavily tied together, for example research using resources, and publication of research. Both have copyright implications.
Context is important in copyright, what you can do personally at home, legally, is different to the rights you have as researchers, and rights you have as an author publishing your research. Understanding what you intend to do with someone else’s copyright material is as important as the material itself.
Early stage research
In the early stages of research it is likely to be literature reviews, some data or text mining, and general background research. Much of this a Researcher will access via fair dealing for research and study.
There are two ways to work out what is fair under fair dealing for research and study. Firstly a set amount for copyright material that can easily be calculated, such as text based material.
- 10% of the number of pages (if its text or sheet music and is more than 10 pages long).
- One chapter (if its divided into chapters) either printed or electronic.
- An article from a newspaper, magazine or journal (or more than one if it is for the same course of research or study).
- 10% of the number of words in an electronic work (e.g. Internet).
Secondly a judgement call on what is being copied (photos, images, film etc) and what it is being used for (how much, what type of material is it).
- Small amount of music to illustrate a technique, an image to demonstrate a skill, diagram to show where parts go together.
- A whole image or diagram, 30 seconds of a piece of music, a minute of a film.
- Is the material available for purchase?
- Will using the material affect sales of the original copyright material.
- How much are you copying, and how important or distinctive is the piece.
Fair Dealing Obligations
As part of using copyright material under any of the fair dealing rights, the obligation is to reference where the material came from. The legislation does not stipulate how this must be done, simply that is must be done. A citation list or bibliography, a credits list at the end of a video, verbal thanks at the end of a recital or music program. A reference slide at the end of a PowerPoint, clickable link under the image are all considered suitable acknowledgement.
An important obligation for fair dealing for research and study, is that the material can only be used for personal use. You cannot publish other people copyright material if you obtained it under fair dealing for research and study.
Open Access/Creative Commons Obligations
- a citation list
- credits list at the end of a video
- verbal thanks at the end of a recital or music program
- reference slide at the end of a PowerPoint
- clickable link under the image
The ACU library can always assist in the early research stages. See Beginning your research.
Your research funding contract may also contain stipulations on how you keep your research data and publish your findings, which may have copyright implications. Ensure you are familiar with the copyright requirements of any research funding.
Publishing your findings
The copyright on your published findings is a very important decision to make.
There are two major considerations when deciding on the best way to exert your copyright rights. (see Copyright basics for a review of the suite of rights).
- Stipulations in your funding contract regarding Copyright.
- The extent of and use of other people’s copyright material in your work. You will require clearances for all of this material, unless it has been already cleared.
For specific copyright questions you can contact the Copyright Manager who is available to discuss and resolve any copyright concerns:
More generic resources are available at: