Copyright is a system of laws that is designed to protect the works of authors from unauthorised copying and transmission, whilst at the same time allowing the public to have reasonable access to information. Australian copyright law is contained in a piece of federal legislation called The Copyright Act 1968.
Copyright legislation protects a range of material:
Copyright does not protect ideas (or styles or techniques) – it protects the expression of the idea in a material form.
In most cases, copyright will be owned by the creator of the work.
Copyright protection applies automatically. Copyright holders do not need to register their work, and copyright material does not need to have the © copyright symbol attached for it to be protected.
A copyright owner has a number of exclusive rights, that is things that only they can do, or authorize someone else to do.
In general, these rights are:
Duration of Copyright by Copyright Agency
In general, copyright in text, images and music lasts for 70 years after the year of the creator’s death, even if the creator does not own copyright. The period was extended from 50 to 70 years in 2005, but only for content that was still in copyright on 1 January 2005.
When copyright in a work has expired, it is often referred to as being “in the public domain” or “out of copyright.”
When there is an infringement of Copyright, a Copyright owner is entitled to bring a civil action in court against the person or organisation who has infringed Copyright. There are also circumstances, where infringement of Copyright is regarded as a criminal offence, and fines and jail terms may apply.
An Introduction to Copyright in Australia
Fair Dealing: What Can I Use Without Permission
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