Students and Copyright

During a student’s time at ACU, the student will encounter a wide range of copyright material. A student’s learning resources will include readings and audio-visual material and could also include software programs and complex simulated environments. All the learning resources contain copyright material.

Copyright comes from the Copyright Act 1968, and it is an important piece of legislation that governs much of what you see and hear on the internet along with older material like books and paintings. See our page on Copyright for more on what copyright is.

Students will also create copyright material, through assessments, essays, and their own research. Other than anything copied from someone else, a student will own and need to manage the copyright in what they have created. If there is a team based assessment, then each member of the team will own an equal share of the copyright.

Context is important in copyright, what you can do personally at home, legally, is different to the rights you have as a students, and then rights you have as a professional in your chosen career. Understanding what you intend to do with someone else’s copyright material is as important as the material itself.

Fair dealing

Research and study

  • Copying someone else’s material to undertake personal research or study then it is not an infringement.
  • The educational institution can copy someone else’s material and send to an enrolled external student.

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. e.g. 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.

Criticism or review

A student may copy small amounts of material for the purpose of criticism or review.

Parody or satire

A student may copy small amounts of material for the purpose of parody or satire.

Reporting news

A student working for a newspaper, magazine or similar periodical or reporting via audio-visual means may copy small amount of material for the purpose of reporting. Music can only be copied if it is part of the news: it cannot simply be added as background later.

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 study and assessment. You can only share the copied material with classmates and your instructors: you are not permitted to make it available freely on the internet. This material can only be used behind a password protected wall, like LEO.

For further information see: Quick Guide - Copyright Obligations for Students

Open Access

There are many resources available on the internet that can be used differently than fair dealing for research and study. Their generic term is Open Access or Creative Commons licensed materials. These materials are available because the copyright owner has chosen to release some or all of their suite of rights.

Using open access resources enables you to use more than the limits required under fair dealing for research and study, and also allows other uses, such as putting material on the internet. Using ‘CC’ or ‘Creative Commons’ when conducting a search is particularly good when you need illustrative images or music for your work.

There are many ways to search for open access materials, a good starting point is to search the Creative Commons website.

Open Access/Creative Commons Obligations

The creator chooses which licence to release their work under, so obligations will vary.  Always check the licence first by searching the Creative Commons Use & ReMix database.

Open access still requires attribution using any of the following, which are all considered suitable acknowledgement or attribution:

  • a citation list
  • bibliography
  • 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

Page last updated: 09 Feb 2017

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