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When can you copy, communicate or perform?

The Copyright Act does not stop staff and students from copying altogether, but it does impose rules regarding what, how much, and for what purposes you may copy, communicate or perform the material in public if:

  • copyright in the material has expired (i.e. it is in the public domain); or
  • you have written permission from all the relevant copyright owners; or
  • the material is licenced for copying/communication/performance without permission, for example under Creative Commons licence; or
  • your purpose and amount fall within the ‘fair dealing’ provisions or other exceptions in the Copyright Act; or
  • your purpose and amount fall within the statutory education licence provisions (s113P) of the Copyright Act.

The amount you may copy/communicate/perform under the fair dealing, exceptions and statutory licence provisions depends upon why you are copying, the intended audience and the type of material you are copying. As a general principle, the fair dealing provisions apply to your own research or study; while the statutory licence applies to use by the University staff in teaching or library resource provision. 

In general, you need permission to use all or any “substantial part” of someone else’s copyright material in any of the ways reserved to the copyright owner, unless a licence or an exception to infringement applies. What is “substantial” is a question of quality over quantity. In cases that have looked at the issue of “substantial part”, the courts tend to look at whether the part taken is “important”, “essential”, “material” or “distinctive” to the original material from which it was taken. Generally, if what you are using is recognisable as having originated from a particular source, it is likely to be a “substantial part”.

As a general rule, you cannot communicate anything for publication (including putting online) or sharing purposes, unless you have the copyright owner's permission. Likewise, you cannot publicly perform anything for entertainment purposes, unless you have the copyright owner's permission.

Warning about audio and video files and the TUA network

It is against the TUA Student Conduct Policy and/or Staff Conduct Policy to store or play files that are infringing copies on University equipment. Do not use University equipment to store or play music or video that you might have copied from your own audio or video files, unless you can prove:

1.  that you have permission from the copyright owners
2.  that the music is for TUA purposes.

Even if you have paid for the music from a legitimate site such as Apple iTunes, or you have the permission of the copyright owner, you may still be in breach of the TUA Policy if the music is not for TUA purposes.

Using peer-to-peer software

You are cautioned against using university networks and machines to deal with music or video in digital form, this includes:

  • ripping
  • burning
  • peer-to-peer networking
  • file-sharing
  • file-swapping
  • downloading from sites offering music. 

If done without the express permission of the copyright owners, these activities are unacceptable uses of TUA facilities under the Student Conduct Policy and/or Staff Conduct Policy and may also result in an infringement of Australian copyright law. Even if your actions are done with the permission of the copyright owner, you may be in breach of the policy if the music is not for TUA-related purposes.