Who owns the copyright?

Normally the creator owns the copyright on creating the work. The easiest way to find the copyright owner is to look for the © symbol on the work. For example, © 2019 Griffith University. Here Griffith University owns the copyright, and the copyright began in 2019.

As the employer, Griffith University owns the copyright in scholarly works (such as articles and research data), educational materials, creative works, and software created by academic and general staff under their employment. For more detail, see Griffith's Intellectual Property Policy

Particular research funding agreements can also determine copyright ownership.

When two or more people make significant contributions to a work, there is joint copyright ownership.

In the Creative Arts, works are sometimes produced outside the scope of employment. In addition, grants supporting the production of creative works are sometimes only awarded to individuals and not a University.

For clarity on ownership, speak with your Director, or the Information Policy Officer.

Copyright ownership and publishing

In academic publishing, copyright is often transferred from the creator to the publisher by contract.  However this can be negotiated, as copyright transfer is not essential for publication. As publishers normally seek copyright ownership in publishing agreements, Griffith allows staff to sign over (assign) Griffith's copyright to the publisher.

Student copyright

RHDs and students normally own the copyright in their essays, theses, articles, assignments and creative works. Staff should seek permission to use their work.

Commercialising copyright

Griffith encourages the commercialisation of copyright and other IP by providing incentives to staff.  For further information, see Griffith's Intellectual Property Policy, or contact the Information Policy Officer or Griffith Enterprise.

Copyright ownership in teaching materials

As the employer, Griffith owns the copyright in educational materials staff create.  If academic staff leave to teach elsewhere, Griffith grants the staff member a licence to use the educational materials (they individually created whilst working at Griffith) in their new position.  Staff should acknowledge that the educational materials were created at Griffith University.

For more detail, see Griffith's Intellectual Property Policy.

Need help?

The Information Policy Officer provides copyright advice and training across Griffith University for staff and students. Contact the Information Policy Officer by emailing copyright@griffith.edu.au or phoning (0)7 3735 5695.

Advice and support

  • Reading List Service digitises and makes readings available online for students through Learning@Griffith in a copyright compliant way.
  • The Library assists with supplying movies and TV material for teaching in a copyright compliant way.
  • Griffith Enterprise advises on ownership and development of potentially commercial copyright, inventions and other IP created by staff and students.

Common questions