Intent and purpose of the Copyright Act 1968 (Australia)


purpose - the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists

Copyright law

Copyright law creates incentives for people to invest their time, talent and other resources in creating new material – particularly cultural and educational material, which benefits society.

In Australia, copyright law is set out in the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). This is federal legislation, and applies throughout Australia. The Commonwealth Attorney-General administers Australian copyright law.

Although the Copyright Act dates from 1968, it sets out how copyright applies for material created both before and after that date. The Copyright Act has been regularly amended since 1968, to bring it up to date with evolving technologies and concerns. In addition to dealing with copyright rights, the Copyright Act also deals with performers’ rights and the “moral rights” of individual creators.

What does copyright protect?

Copyright protects:

    • textual material (“literary works”) such as journal articles, novels, screenplays, poems, song lyrics and reports
    • computer programs (a sub-category of “literary works”)
    • compilations (another sub-category of “literary works”) such as anthologies – the selection and arrangement of material may be protected separately from the individual items contained in the compilation
    • artistic works such as paintings, drawings, cartoons, sculpture, craft work, architectural plans, buildings, photographs, maps and plans
    • dramatic works such as choreography, screenplays, plays and mime pieces
    • musical works: that is, the music itself, separately from any lyrics or recording
    • cinematograph films: the visual images and sounds in a film, video or DVD are protected separately from any copyright in works recorded on the film or video, such as scripts and music
    • sound recordings: the particular recording itself is protected by copyright, in addition to, for example, the music or story that is recorded
    • broadcasts: TV and radio broadcasters have a copyright in their broadcasts, which is separate from the copyright in the films, music and other material which they broadcast
    • published editions: publishers have copyright in their typographical arrangements, which is separate from the copyright in works reproduced in the edition (such as poems or illustrations or music)

Copyright protection is automatic

Copyright protection is free and automatic from the time a work is first written down or recorded in some way. You do not apply for copyright in Australia, and there is no system of registration here. Nor are there any forms to fill in, or fees to be paid.

You do not need to publish your work, put a copyright notice on it, or do anything else before your work is covered by copyright. For example, as soon as a poem is written, or a song is recorded, it is protected.

Copyright is a form of intellectual property law. It grants exclusive rights to the copyright owner to enable them to determine how their work can be used.

Copyright protects the expression of ideas and information in material form, e.g. written down, recorded as an image or sound. It does not protect ideas and information themselves. In Australia, copyright applies automatically as soon as something is written down or recorded. Material does not have to be registered for copyright protection. It is good practice to include a copyright statement (the copyright symbol ©, the name of the copyright owner and the year of first publication, e.g. © Fred Jones 2010.) to remind people that the work is subject to copyright and who the copyright owner is.


1. Sofia paints a picture of a peacock. She scans it to create an electronic file and uploads it to eBay to be sold as an original artwork. Does Sofia own copyright for the picture and any images made of it?

Imagine Sofia fails to sell the artwork on eBay. She removes the picture from her eBay account and posts it on her Facebook page without a copyright notice, caption or label. She shares the image with her two friends, Sandra and Rebecca. Rebecca adds it to her Facebook page. Facebook later use it as part of an online advertising campaign.

Who has breached copyright? Explain your answer.

2. Ben writes a novel about a submarine captain whose entire crew is made up of artificially intelligent robots – part of a top secret operation by the US Navy. The robots mutiny against the captain, setting him adrift in a boat. He eventually reaches land and informs authorities, but no one believes him. Ben wrote the novel on his computer, and each version is date stamped. Ben sends two printed manuscripts of the novel to his workmates. Within a year, Ben sees a book with an identical story written in the same words but published under a different title and under a different author’s name for sale in a bookshop. Has copyright been breached? If so, who is legally at fault?

3. Marat has the idea of making a bathmat out of live, growing moss. He tells a few people about it but never gets to the design stage. Marat finds out that a company has developed the idea into a final product and it is for sale online. Has there been a breach of copyright? Explain your answer.

Private use

There are limited provisions in the Copyright Act for copying material that you own for personal use. These provisions include space shifting of recorded music, timeshifting television and radio programs and format shifting other types of material such as books, magazines or photographs.

Fair dealing

Fair Dealing.pdf

The fair dealing provisions allow limited use of copyright material for certain purposes without requiring permission from the copyright owner. Fair dealing only applies to certain purposes: research or study, criticism or review, parody or satire, reporting the news and judicial proceedings or professional advice.

Moral rights

Moral rights.pdf

Appropriate referencing techniques for digital publications

appropriate - suitable or proper in the circumstances

technique - a way of carrying out a particular task, especially the execution or performance of an artistic work or a scientific procedure
digital - storing information such as sound or pictures as numbers or electronic signals




Additional Information

Murdoch APA Referencing:

Acknowledgement of the intellectual property (IP) owner





Additional Information

Concept of digital citizenship


digital - storing information such as sound or pictures as numbers or electronic signals

Responsible use of social networking

Strategies to manage/limit cyber bullying



Use a design application to create a poster that outlines ONE ASPECT of the subject of CYBERBULLYING. This could:

  • Define Cyberbullying
  • Outline a FORM of Cyberbullying
  • Highlight a good STRATEGY to combat Cyberbullying
  • Specific social networking tools (e.g. How to BLOCK someone)
  • Resources / ways to get help & support

The impact of digital technologies on work-life balance


digital - storing information such as sound or pictures as numbers or electronic signals

Concept of social networking

Social networking has grown to become one of the largest and most influential components of the web, but despite how prevalent it is in the Western world (especially among the younger crowd), not everyone uses it or understands it.

The open-ended nature of social networks may only add to the confusion. Once signed into a social network, having answered a few basic profile questions, it's easy to sit back and wonder what you are supposed to do next.

Social Networks: A Simple Understanding

Perhaps the easiest way to understand social networking is to think of it like high school. You had friends in school and you knew quite a few people even if you weren't friends with all of them, but it's likely that you didn't know everyone.

If you ever moved to a new school, or if you can imagine moving to a new school, you start out with no friends. After attending classes, you start meeting people, and as you meet them, you begin associating with those that have similar interests.

Getting started with social networking is much the same as starting a new school. At first, you don't have any friends, but as you join groups and begin meeting new people, you build a friend list of those with similar interests.

Attending a job fair to learn more about businesses in your area, is also a form of social networking. You may have heard that social networking is important in finding a job.

This is true in that knowing people (social) and communicating with them (networking) can help you land a job possibly easier than someone who isn't going down that route.

In the context of the internet, this is what social networking is, except online.

Social networking is based on a certain structure that allows people to both express their individuality and meet people with similar interests.

taken from

Types of social networking and their features

type - a category of people or things having common characteristics




Additional Information

Types of virtual communities

Online chat rooms

mIRC - Join chat rooms all over the world - Download Video Previews

mIRC is a popular Internet Relay Chat client used by individuals and organizations to communicate, share, play and work with each other on IRC networks around the world. Serving the Internet community for over two decades, mIRC has evolved into a powerful, reliable and fun piece of technology.

Free online chat room:

Virtual worlds

A virtual world is a computer-based online community environment that is designed and shared by individuals so that they can interact in a custom-built, simulated world. Users interact with each other in this simulated world using text-based, two-dimensional or three-dimensional graphical models called avatars.

taken from


Apply appropriate referencing techniques for digital publications

apply - use, utilise, employ in a particular situation
appropriate - suitable or proper in the circumstances

technique - a way of carrying out a particular task, especially the execution or performance of an artistic work or a scientific procedure
digital - storing information such as sound or pictures as numbers or electronic signals




Additional Information