Reading time: 3 minutes

Copyright, simply, is a group of rights that are granted exclusively to creative work.  Types of works capable of attracting Copyright protection include books, paintings, sketches, blueprints, scripts, storyboards, sound recordings, graphic designs and building models or sitemaps. Copyright protection enables you to reproduce the material and, if applicable, the right to perform or show the work publicly.

What is Copyright?

Copyright protection is automatic and provided for under the Copyright Act 1968.  It gives the owner the exclusive right to, amongst other things, licence others when making adaptations of their work.  

Technology presents a challenge to publishers because of the sheer volume of information that is around and is publishable.  Publishers must be very careful to ensure that what they are publishing does not infringe copyright – this can be a tough task.

When is Copyright infringed?

Using just part of a work (i.e. other people’s quotes and writing extracts) without permission may infringe copyright if that part is deemed a ‘substantial’ part of the work. In this context, the issue is not whether you have used a large portion of the work or whether you have changed and/or adapted it. But, whether the part used is an important, essential or distinctive part of the original material.  Accordingly, the use of a relatively small proportion of a work may amount to misappropriation.  Whether or not infringement has occurred will ultimately depend upon the particular circumstances of each case.

When do you need permission to use someone else’s work?

If you are reproducing a quote, you may need permission if: 

  • The quotation is a work for the purpose of copyright; or
  • The quotation is an important part of the work.  

Copyright will be infringed if a ‘substantial part’ of the work is used in a way reserved exclusively to the copyright owner. A part may be considered ‘substantial’ if it is ‘essential’, ‘distinctive’ or ‘important.’ For example, using just 4 lines from a 32 line poem has been considered an infringement. Whether you will require permission to reproduce the work, or part of the work, will largely depend on the circumstances of each case.

Standalone phrases may be too small or unoriginal to be regarded as works and consequently, not protected by copyright. These include single words, names, titles and slogans. Whether or not an infringement has occurred is again, driven by the individual facts of the case and in each case, it is very much a question of degree.

Acknowledging the source of the work is not a substitute for obtaining permission. And identifying the owner of the work is not a defence.

When can you use copyright material without permission?

There are special exceptions which allow for the use of copyright material for certain purposes without the owner’s permission (the ‘fair dealing exceptions’), including for the purpose of:

  • Criticism or review,
  • Research or study,
  • Parody or satire,
  • Professional advice, or
  • News reporting.

LegalVision can assist publishers in checking whether or not the material they intend to publish infringes copyright.  If you would like legal assistance with copyright matters, simply get in touch with LegalVision today at 1300 544 755. Our litigation lawyers are waiting to assist!

Webinars

How Franchisors Can Avoid Misleading and Deceptive Conduct

Wednesday 18 May | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Ensure your franchise is not accused of misleading and deceptive conduct. Register for our free webinar today.
Register Now

New Kid on the Blockchain: Understanding the Proposed Laws for Crypto, NFT and Blockchain Projects

Wednesday 25 May | 10:00 - 10:45am

Online
If you operate in the crypto space, ensure you understand the Federal Government’s proposed licensing and regulation changes. Register today for our free webinar.
Register Now

How to Expand Your Business Into a Franchise

Thursday 26 May | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Drive rapid growth in your business by turning it into a franchise. To learn how, join our free webinar. Register today.
Register Now

Day in Court: What Happens When Your Business Goes to Court

Thursday 2 June | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
If your business is going to court, then you need to understand the process. Our free webinar will explain.
Register Now

How to Manage a Construction Dispute

Thursday 9 June | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Protect your construction firm from disputes. To understand how, join our free webinar.
Register Now

Startup Financing: Venture Debt 101

Thursday 23 June | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Learn how venture debt can help take your startup to the next level. Register for our free webinar today.
Register Now

About LegalVision: LegalVision is a commercial law firm that provides businesses with affordable and ongoing legal assistance through our industry-first membership.

By becoming a member, you'll have an experienced legal team ready to answer your questions, draft and review your contracts, and resolve your disputes. All the legal assistance your business needs, for a low monthly fee.

Learn more about our membership

Need Legal Help? Submit an Enquiry

If you would like to get in touch with our team and learn more about how our membership can help your business, fill out the form below.

Our Awards

  • 2020 Excellence in Technology & Innovation Finalist – Australasian Law Awards
  • 2020 Employer of Choice Winner – Australasian Lawyer
  • 2021 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500
  • 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review
  • 2021 Law Firm of the Year - Australasian Law Awards
  • 2019 Most Innovative Firm - Australasian Lawyer