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Fair dealing for research or study

To determine whether activity is a "fair dealing for research or study", a court may consider the following:

  • the purpose and character of the dealing;
  • the nature of the material;
  • the possibility of obtaining the material within a reasonable time at an ordinary commercial price;
  • the effect upon the potential market for the material; and
  • the amount and substantiality of the part copied or communicated in relation to the whole item.

The Using Copyright Resources: Information Sheet provides guidance on how you can use copyright material based on the type of material and the purpose of the use.

Universities Australia has advised that copying which is part of the research function, such as preparing an article or book chapter, or part of an academic's general reading to maintain current awareness in his or her field, is made "for the purpose of research or study". A communication between two individual academics for the purpose of joint research will most likely also satisfy the test.

You cannot use copies made under the fair dealing provisions for any other purpose. If you do, then the copies are infringing copies and penalties may occur.

Requesting permission

If you want to copy more than the ‘fair dealing’ copying limits, or if you want to include copyright material in a publication or thesis:

  • In your permission letter, make it clear how you intend to use the material (e.g. non-commercial or educational purposes) and who will have access to it.
  • Ensure you get permission in writing and keep a record of it. Permission via email is acceptable.
  • Abide by any conditions imposed.
  • On the copies themselves make it clear you have copied the material with permission (e.g. ‘reproduced with permission of the copyright holder’) and reference correctly.

A sample letter for a thesis request: pdf Word.

Don't forget

Acknowledge your sources:

  • Attribute the creator of the material under the Moral Rights provisions of the Copyright Act (the right of attribution).
  • Cite any material that you copy and re-use. Include author, title, source and URL.
  • An infringement of moral rights is considered an infringement of copyright.