The Copyright Act has some sections called the "fair dealing" sections. One of these sections relates to fair dealing for research and study. This section says that you may copy a "reasonable portion" of a literary, dramatic or musical work for your own research and study.
According to the Act, a reasonable portion is:
For artistic work, video and sound recordings, there is no simple rule as to how much you can copy for research and study purposes. In deciding whether copying an audio-visual item will constitute fair dealing, the Copyright Act doesn't define fair dealing precisely, but states that the following fairness factors are to be considered:
Research and study includes assessment, so you may include fair portions of works in your assignments, projects and theses, provided that you attribute the sources properly. The copyright situation gets more complicated if your project or thesis will be distributed beyond your assessors.
There are legal obligations to attribute creators and treat their work with respect. These creators’ rights are known as ‘moral rights’.
They mean you must:
If you want to use material found on the web for your research and study, you may do so under the fair dealing provisions. You are restricted to using the material for that purpose only unless the website states otherwise.
Music and movies available for download from websites or through peer to peer networks may be in the form of illegal copies, which infringe copyright. If you come across a website offering downloads from many different bands and artists for nothing or a very small fee, then they are unlikely to be legitimate copies.
Using SAE's equipment to download, upload, share or store music or movies without the permission of the copyright owner is a breach of the rules, and may cause you to be involved in disciplinary action, and to have your account suspended. You will also be vulnerable to prosecution.
See the Fact Sheet by the Australian Copyright Council if you are using other people's audio, images, video and text to create new works.