Do you publish or host content online? Perhaps you collate the week’s best Medium posts or are a prolific blogger about street style. We set out below who owns or controls your content online as well as what steps you can take to protect your creative works. If you upload third party content, we will also look at the exceptions to copyright infringement.

What is Online Content?

Content captures images, videos, podcasts or articles that a user publishes online. Australia’s Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) (the Act) protects the expression of an author’s idea. Importantly, the Act does not protect mere ideas.

Copyright is automatic in Australia and attaches itself to “original work” expressed in a “material form” – that is, the author must write the article, publish their video online or in another tangible format. There is no registration process. Notwithstanding, the law considers that the author of copyrighted material will need to take active steps to protect and enforce their rights. You should explicitly state in your website terms of use that you are the work’s original author and own the intellectual property.

Who Owns Your Content Online?

The circumstances under which you create the work will affect who owns your content online. Generally, the author of the work will own the copyright unless they have assigned or licenced their rights.

Another situation whereby the author does not own the copyright in their work is when an employee has completed the work as part of their employment. Here, the employer owns and controls the employee’s work. For example, an employee that completes medical research in a lab. The employer pays the employee and the employment agreement clearly states that the employer owns any intellectual property the employee creates. This ownership means the employer has the exclusive right to ‘exploit’ the work – that is, reproduce, publish it online and/or make adaptations to the work.

What are Moral Rights?

If you have created content online, you as the original author will have the moral rights to your work to help protect the integrity and ownership of your work. These moral rights are non-transferable and cannot be purchased.

Moral rights are:

  1. The author’s right of integrity;
  2. Right of attribution; and
  3. The right not to have authorship falsely attributed.

Under the Copyright Amendment (Moral Rights) Act 2000, anybody dealing with “creative work” must uphold the creator’s moral rights. Further, moral rights also apply to copyright material made available online per the Copyright Amendment (Digital Agenda) Act 2001. 

What is Fair Dealing?

People other than the owner or author can reproduce copyright material published online if it falls within the ambit of “fair dealing”. Under the Act, another person is allowed to reproduce a work without the owner’s permission if it is for the following purposes:

  1. Research or study;
  2. Criticism or review;
  3. Parody or satire; and
  4. Reporting the news.

Factors such as the whether there is a commercial purpose for reproduction and if the owner suffers a loss from the reproduction will likely affect whether the dealing is fair.

Facebook and Copyright Law

Facebook is an increasingly popular platform for authors to post and share their creative works. Posting your work on Facebook will not remove your right to assert ownership over your intellectual property. You do, however, need to take active steps to protect your intellectual property. If you believe someone is infringing your IP rights on Facebook, you can fill out a form and submit it to Facebook’s representatives. It is also prudent that you send a message to the person who is infringing your work and request they take it down immediately.


If you have any questions about how you can protect your content online, get in touch with our intellectual property lawyers on 1300 544 755.

COVID-19 Business Survey
LegalVision is conducting a survey on the impact of COVID-19 for businesses across Australia. The survey takes 2 minutes to complete and all responses are anonymous. We would appreciate your input. Take the survey now.

About LegalVision: LegalVision is a tech-driven, full-service commercial law firm that uses technology to deliver a faster, better quality and more cost-effective client experience.

The majority of our clients are LVConnect members. By becoming a member, you can stay ahead of legal issues while staying on top of costs. For just $199 per month, membership unlocks unlimited lawyer consultations, faster turnaround times, free legal templates and members-only discounts.

Learn more about LVConnect

Esther Mistarz
Need Legal Help? Get a Free Fixed-Fee Quote

If you would like to receive a free fixed-fee quote or get in touch with our team, fill out the form below.

  • By submitting this form, you agree to receive emails from LegalVision and can unsubscribe at any time. See our full Privacy Policy.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Our Awards
  • 2019 Top 25 Startups - LinkedIn 2019 Top 25 Startups - LinkedIn
  • 2019 NewLaw Firm of the Year - Australian Law Awards 2019 NewLaw Firm of the Year - Australian Law Awards
  • 2020 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500 2020 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500
  • 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review
  • 2020 Law Firm of the Year Finalist - Australasian Law Awards 2020 Law Firm of the Year Finalist - Australasian Law Awards
  • Most Innovative Law Firm - 2019 Australasian Lawyer 2019 Most Innovative Firm - Australasian Lawyer
Privacy Policy Snapshot

We collect and store information about you. Let us explain why we do this.

What information do you collect?

We collect a range of data about you, including your contact details, legal issues and data on how you use our website.

How do you collect information?

We collect information over the phone, by email and through our website.

What do you do with this information?

We store and use your information to deliver you better legal services. This mostly involves communicating with you, marketing to you and occasionally sharing your information with our partners.

How do I contact you?

You can always see what data you’ve stored with us.

Questions, comments or complaints? Reach out on 1300 544 755 or email us at

View Privacy Policy