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Copyright: What can you copy and use

Copyright information and resources for senior school students and teachers

Source: Black, S. (2020).

CopyrightAll students and staff have obligations under the Australian Copyright Act, 1968 (Cth). These resources help you understand how to apply Copyright and Creative Commons guidelines.

Did you know that using some else's work without their permission is against the law? Copyright Act, 1968 (Cth).

For more information see the Students and Copyright and the Copyright for Schools information sheets at the Official Guide to Copyright Issues for Australian Schools at Smartcopying.

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Jump toJump to: Introduction | Summary

Copyright | What can you copy: Introduction

DefinitionsThe following summary is taken from Copyright in the Classroom: A Practical Guide by Nathan Webster and published by the Australian Copyright Council.

See also:

Summary of Copyright obligations in Australian schools

The statutory licence: copying and communicating text, images and notated music

The statutory licence allows an educational institution to copy and communicate text, images and scored music in hardcopy for educational purposes. To copy under the licence, an educational institution must have a remuneration notice with Copyright Agency, the declared collecting society.

How much can be copied under the licence?

In most cases, the amount you can copy is limited to a “reasonable portion”. The Copyright Act deems the following amounts to be a “reasonable portion”:

Published literary works
  • 10% of the number of pages or one chapter (whichever is greater) for a hardcopy work; or
  • 10% of the number of words or one chapter (whichever is greater) for an electronic work.
  • An article in an issue of a periodical (such as a journal, newspaper or magazine), or more than one article from the same publication if the articles are on the same subject.
  • A literary or dramatic work of no more than 15 pages published in an anthology.
Musical works
  • 10% of a music score.
  • The whole of an image in hardcopy that accompanies (and explains or illustrates) text being copied under the licence; or
  • the whole of an image in electronic format.
TV and radio
  • The statutory licence allows for an educational institution to copy and communicate material from radio and TV for educational purposes. It covers copying and communicating cable, satellite and broadcast services, whether free-to-air or subscription, as well as on-demand services where a free-to-air broadcaster is making broadcast content available online. This includes catch-up TV services such as iView as well as broadcasters’ YouTube channels.

NOTE: [Commercial licenses may override the statutory education license. For example, streaming media from platforms such as Netflix] in public, or in a classroom, is often NOT covered by the terms of use, and doing so risks exposing the user and the educational institution to liability for breach of contract.

Source: Webster, N., & Australian Copyright Council. (2017, p.17). 'Licences for educational institutions' in Copyright in the Classroom : A Practical Guide. Strawberry Hills, NSW, Australia: Australian Copyright Council.,sso&custid=mggsvic&ebv=EB&ppid=pp_17


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