As the owner of a copyright, you are entitled to exclusive rights to use your copyright in any way that you like. For a list of your rights in relation to a copyright please see: (“What is copyright and can I register it”)

As such, if another person misuses your exclusive rights in the copyright, this will constitute copyright infringement. Before working out whether copyright infringement has occurred, it is useful to identify which particular right you are asserting and are claiming has been infringed.

Establishing copyright infringement

Before you claim that copyright infringement has occurred, you need to be able to prove that there has been substantial reproduction of your copyright and that the final product is similar to your copyrighted work or material.

Often a person can get away with copying a little material, as long as what they have copied is not substantial. To determine what is substantial, the quality and quantity of the copied material will be looked at. For example, if a large amount of work has been copied however the quality of the work is largely unoriginal then it is likely that copyright infringement will not be found. However, if a small amount of work has been copied but this small amount presents a high level of similarity to the copyrighted material, then it is likely that copyright infringement will be found in this case.

The objective similarity will also be considered to look at exactly what has been copied and whether or not the copied material is similar to the copyrighted material.

It must be kept in mind that copyright does not protect abstract ideas. Copyright only protects the expression of these ideas in various shapes and forms.

Acts that do not constitute copyright infringement

There are numerous examples of acts that do not constitute copyright infringement under copyright laws, including the following:

  • Copying for research or study, criticism or review, parody or satire;
  • Copying for reporting news;
  • Reproduction for judicial proceedings or professional advice;
  • Temporary reproductions made in the course of communication or during a technical process;
  • Reproducing works in books, newspapers and other publications for private use;
  • Use in education;
  • Reproduction of labels for a chemical product;
  • Reading or recitation in public or for a broadcast; and
  • Reproduction in the public interest.

For a comprehensive list of acts that do not constitute copyright infringement please see the Copyright Act 1968 :


Establishing copyright infringement is not always a simple task, which is why it may be a good idea to seek legal advice from an IP lawyer before you make any claims of copyright infringement. Our team of IP lawyers have extensive experience in this area and would be happy to assist. To speak with one of our IP lawyers today, contact LegalVision on 1300 544 755.

For more information on copyright laws and general intellectual property please see:

Lachlan McKnight
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