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Copyright: Copyright

What is Copyright?

A simple definition of copyright is that it is a collection of rights in certain creative works such as text, artistic works, music, computer programs, sound recordings and films. The rights are granted exclusively to the copyright owner to reproduce the material, and for some material, the right to perform or show the work to the public. 

Copyright owners can prevent others from reproducing or communicating their work without their permission or may sell these rights to someone else.

Copyright does not protect ideas, concepts, styles or techniques. For example, copyright will not protect an idea for a film or book, but it will protect a script for the film or even a storyboard for the film.

In Australia, copyright protection is automatic. There is no need for copyright registration in Australia, nor is there a legal requirement to publish the work or to put a copyright notice '©' on it (even though this is best practice). A work will be protected as soon as it is put into material form, e.g. in written down or recorded in some way (i.e. filmed).

Text: Adapted, copied and communicated from the Smartcopying website under (CC BY 4.0)

Good Practices Using Copyright


The purpose of this Youtube video is to provide basic copyright awareness for teaching staff. Departments can use this in the staff induction processes or orientation of new students.


Mimi and Eunice: Thief, by Nina Paley, licenced under (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Copyright Coordinator

To contact the Melbourne Polytechnic Copyright Coordinator:


Copyright Websites


Applying a Creative Commons Licence

Australian Copyright Council

Locate user-friendly information sheets about copyright, including advice to people working in educational institutions.

Copyright Agency Limited (CAL)
Copyright on YouTube

Books on Copyright from the Library