What you need to know
Copyright law determines when and how you can copy, publish, communicate or perform works that others have created. Copyright begins once a work has been created and requires no formal registration.
What does copyright protect?
- book chapters, journal and newspaper articles, documents
- letters, poetry, song lyrics, interviews
- internet material such as YouTube videos, images, podcasts, webpages, blogs
- films, music, videos, radio, TV broadcasts
- photos, diagrams, graphs
- paintings, sketches, drawings, sculpture, pottery, engravings
- fabric prints, weave patterns, tattoos
- plans, maps, buildings, models of buildings
- published editions, research data, computer programs
How long does copyright last for?
Generally copyright in a work lasts for the life of the author and 70 years. But often works will have shorter periods of duration. For example, if a photo was taken before 1 January 1955, the copyright has already expired, but if taken after, it lasts for the life of the photographer and 70 years.
For copyright duration pertaining to each type of work see Australian Copyright Council’s "Duration of Copyright" guide. For assistance contact the Information Policy Officer.