Attribution is the acknowledgment of the creator of a work when it is copied. Attribution is usually displayed close to the work, for example, in the caption to a photograph. Attribution should include the work’s title, the name of its creator, and the source, as well as the terms under which it was copied, for example 'used with permission' or 'licensed under CC BY'. Creators often specify how to attribute their work and these instructions should be followed.

To communicate copyright material means making it available online or electronically transmitting it (for example, saving to a learning management system or sending copied material in an email).

A copy is a reproduction of a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work. Copies can be made by printing, photocopying, scanning, downloading or saving.

Copyright is the legal term used to describe rights that creators or copyright holders have in their work. Copyright protects owner’s rights to control how their works are used. Generally, permission must be obtained before using work protected by copyright. Copyright protection lasts for a specific period of time. Once that period has ended (usually 70 years after the death of the creator), the work can be used without the need for permission or payment.

Creative Commons licences
Organisations and creators can apply a Creative Commons licence to their work so that others know how they can use the work without having to seek permission or make a payment. A condition of all Creative Commons licences is that the copyright holder must be attributed. The six licences vary in the additional permissions they grant, such as changing the work and commercial uses.

Exceptions to copyright
A copyright exception is a legal provision that allows use of copyright works without permission or payment.

Fair dealing exceptions
The fair dealing exceptions are the main exceptions to copyright in Australia. In specific circumstances copying a portion of a work for the purposes of research or study, criticism or review, news reporting or parody and satire will be a fair dealing exception. When students copy portions of a book for a school assignment they are relying on fair dealing for the purpose of research and study. The library warning notice is a reminder that ten percent or one chapter is the copying limit under this exception. Enabling a person with a disability to access copyright material, is a copyright exception.

Intellectual property (IP)
Intellectual property (IP) is the term used to encompass a range of legal rights that protect the creations of the mind and creative effort. Patents, trademarks and registered designs are examples of IP, as is copyright.

A licence is when a copyright holder gives authorisation or permission for another to use their copyright works.

Moral rights
Moral rights are separate from the economic rights protected by copyright. Moral rights require that credit (attribution) is given to individual creators and that their work is treated with respect. Moral rights only applies to the creators of works and cannot be sold on or licenced to another.

Open Educational Resources
Open Educational Resources (OER) are freely accessible materials for teaching, learning, assessment and research. OER are often licensed under Creative Commons.

Permission requests
Permission, release or clearance requests are requests to use material in ways reserved for the copyright holder.

Third party material
In this guidance, third party material, content, or works, refers to copyright material not owned by the Department.

Guidance chapter providing definitions to support understanding of intellectual property and copyright

Reviewed 02 June 2024

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