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If you have produced online or physical content, you may want to protect your work from being copied. Copyright protection in Australia is automatic upon creating original work and does not require registration or any additional actions to gain this protection. Likewise, copyright notices are not a legal requirement in Australia. However, you can typically see these notices on most websites and published materials. Therefore, you may want to consider placing a copyright notice on your own work as well as take additional measures to protect your work. This article will discuss copyright notices, the phrase “All Rights Reserved”, and copyright duration and infringement. 

Copyright Notices

The copyright notice typically includes the following information in any particular order. It will contain the:

  • symbol ©;
  • name of the copyright owner; and 
  • year of first publication.

For example, a copyright notice could be any of the following:

  • © LegalVision Pty Ltd 2021; or
  • Copyright 2021 LegalVision Pty Ltd.

You may have seen copyright notices with the letter “P” in a circle or in brackets instead of the “C”. This symbol indicates that the copyrighted material is a sound recording. 

All Rights Reserved 

You may occasionally see the phrase “All Rights Reserved” in addition to the copyright notice. In some cases, the copyright owner will leave out the copyright notice entirely. Given that neither the copyright notice nor the phrase “All Rights Reserved” is legally required in Australia, this is a personal choice and has no legal implications. However, a practical implication of not including this is that people may unwittingly breach your copyright material. Note that this scenario is not uncommon.

For example, you may notice this phrasing in the copyright notice on some websites, like Gumtree and eBay. It will typically look like:

  • Copyright 2021 LegalVision Pty Ltd All Rights Reserved.

Benefit of Using the Phrase “All Rights Reserved”

This phrase indicates to viewers that they reserve all of the rights granted to them under copyright law. A practical benefit from using this phrase may be that readers unfamiliar with copyright notices may become deterred from using your materials. 

For example, Emma wants to set up an online business selling beauty products. Accordingly, she decides to look at eBay to see how similar businesses market their products. As she browses, she thinks it would be helpful to screenshot and use some of these photos. However, she notices the term “All Rights Reserved” at the bottom of the page and decides against this. 

Copyright Duration

The general rule is that copyright lasts during the author’s lifetime and for an additional seventy years after their death. However, the total duration of copyright varies as the general rule is subject to certain requirements. Additionally, the rule will also depend on the type of copyright material. This can range from the type of media to whether the material is government copyright material. 

For example, works where the author is unknown have a different copyright period than works where the author is known. Works where the author is known but the publication date was within or outside of 50 years of being made will also affect copyright durations. You can find useful guidance on how many years copyright law may protect on the Australian Copyright Council’s website.

Copyright Infringement 

If you believe someone is infringing your copyright or you are worried about infringing someone else’s copyright, you should consider what options are available. Infringement can be both direct and indirect, and there are various remedies available, such as a cease and desist letter. 

A cease and desist letter is typically the first step when a party has infringed or breached another’s rights. It will typically include a:

  1. notification that the other party is participating in an activity that they should not be, like infringing your intellectual property rights;
  2. demand that the other party ‘cease and desist’ their conduct;
  3. warning that if they do not stop their activity, there is a possibility of further legal action.

In practice, the delivery of a cease and desist letter is often enough to deter another party from continuing to infringe your copyright. This is particularly the case where a party was unaware of their infringement. However, note that this is not always the case as it ultimately depends on the breach and each party’s stance. 

Key Takeaways

Copyright protection in Australia is free and automatic. Hence, you do not legally need to include a copyright notice on your website. However, a copyright notice, in addition to a website terms of use, is a useful way of deterring potential copyright infringement. Additionally, a copyright notice will typically include the symbol ©, the name of the copyright owner, and the year of first publication. For more information concerning copyright, contact LegalVision’s IP lawyers on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

What legal effect does the phrase “All Rights Reserved” have?

In some cases, a copyright owner will include the phrase, “All Rights Reserved” alongside a copyright notice. Given that neither the copyright notice nor the phrase “All Rights Reserved” is legally required in Australia, this is a personal choice and has no legal implications. However, including this wording on your website, for example, may be a good deterrent to those thinking of copying your work.

How long does copyright last?

The general rule is that copyright lasts during the author’s lifetime and for an additional seventy years after their death. 

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