This guide provides general information about copyright to assist you as a student and/or staff member at Australian Catholic University. It is not intended as legal advice.

Copyright logo
This guide provides general information about copyright to assist you as a student and/or staff member at Australian Catholic University. It is not intended as legal advice. If you need help with basic copyright queries, please contact your local Liaison Librarian. And if you require additional information, please check the university copyright policies.

What is Copyright?

Copyright deals with rights assigned to creators/copyright owners of original works (literary, artistic, creative or musical, computer software/programs, etc). It  is part of Intellectual Property. Matters not covered under copyright may be dealt under Trade Marks and Patents. According to IP Australia, “Copyright protects the original expression of ideas, not the ideas themselves. It is free and automatically safeguards your original works of art and literature, music, films, sound recording, broadcasts and computer programs from copying and certain other uses”.  Even if you do not see the copyright symbol it does not mean that a resource is copyright free.  Copyright covers what is copied, communicated, reproduced, adapted and performed. The duration of copyright varies, check the Copyright Agency Limited (CAL) site for more details.

Creators of original works have moral rights, which are the right of attribution and the right to have the integrity of their work retained. For more information, see Gamble and Sallis, 2004, Moral Rights in Copyright Works.


Australian Copyright Council

Cameron, J. (2006). Copyright and Moral Rights. Australian Catholic University. Retrieved from

Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) (Austl.).

Copyright Agency Limited

IP Australia. Copyright. Retrieved from

What does Copyright Cover?

There are two broad areas categorised as Works and Subject Matter other than Works.

  • Literary Works (books, newspapers, poems, anthologies, computer programs)
  • Dramatic Works (plays)
  • Musical Works (music scores, music) 
  • Artistic Works (drawings, paintings, charts, sculpture, maps, plans, etc)

Subject Matter Other than Works

  • Films (Films, animation, computer games)
  • Sound Recordings
  • Broadcasts (Radio and TV)
  • Published Editions

(Source: Arts Law Information Sheet)

More information on specific examples is covered under copyright for Research/Study and Teaching.


Arts Law Information Sheet. Copyright. Retrieved from

Australian Copyright Council

Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) (Austl.).

Where to Check for Copyright Information?

Print Book

  • The copyright information of a publication is usually listed on the verso (back page) of the title page.

Print journal

  • Check the information on the publisher's page (or website).

Website/Online Content like YouTube

  • Check if the content is from an authorised or credible source.
  • Check copyright information page on the website for example look for © at the bottom of a web page or in the FAQs.

If in doubt about the copyright of a resource, look for alternatives.

Contributors to this Guide

Acknowledging the creators of a work is the part of copyright known as Moral Rights, so here are the names of our staff who contributed to this guide:

  • Wai-Leng Wong
  • Colleen Hutchison 
  • Kerrie Burn
  • Anthony McCall
  • Marianne Gration
  • Stephen Oakshott

We would also like to acknowledge members of the University Copyright Network (comprising Australian and NZ universities) who have provided us feedback for the Quick Guide for Copyright in Teaching and Students Assignment Guide