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What is Copyright?

Copyright information for SWSLHD staff

What is Copyright?

Copyright is protection for original creative works and is automatically granted when the material has been created. Copyright protection is given automatically on creation by the original creator requiring no registration, publication or fees to be paid. Ideas, styles/formatting, techniques and concepts are not protected by copyright, but other people using your ideas, styles/formatting, techniques or concepts might be in breach of other laws protecting these areas.  The copyright notice consists of the symbol ©, followed by the name of the copyright owner and the year of first publication, but this is not mandatory, so absence of the “copyright mark” does not mean it does not have copyright protection. 

Owners of copyright have a number of exclusive rights over their material and anyone who wants to use their work generally needs the owner’s permission.  Copyright owners have the right to reproduce the work, make the work public for the first time and communicate the work.  The creator of the work also has “moral rights” and these must be attributed to them, at all times even once copyright permission is granted in any reproduction/distribution of the work.  Though creators have moral rights on a work always, that does not mean they are the “copyright owner”.  If the creator has only moral rights but not copyright rights, permission must be granted by the copyright owner, not the creator. 

Copyright owners can assign or license their works to other people.  This licensing/transferring of part or all copyright ownership must be in writing, clearly stating the terms of the licence or use/fee and signed by the copyright owner to be legally enforceable. Copyright owners also have the right not to allow other users to use their works. You cannot reproduce, copy or communicate, either in print or electronically, a copyrighted work without the copyright owner’s permission. 

Please note this is only general information and further information can be found from the Books, Australian Copyright Council Resources, Websites or contact your Local CLIN Library staff by visiting the CLIN Libraries Website.