Copyright for students

Student life at uni includes making use of copyright material for research and study in your assessments and assignments, and also may include other uses in events, producing, screening or performing films and music events, or posting to social media for example. Find out how to make the best use of material within our licences and the Copyright Act.

When preparing assignments and submitting content for assessment you can rely on Fair Dealing for the purposes of research or study.

This means if you follow a few rules you don't have to seek permission to use material of others in your work.

The rules are:

  • Limit the amount to what is considered fair - 1 chapter or 10% of pages of a book, 1 journal article from a journal issue, or more if for the research or on the same topic.
  • Attribute (cite) the author and source.
  • Don't distribute or post your assignment online or to others outside of what is required for assessment purposes.

Performance and communication in class of copyright content is allowed for educational purposes. For further details see Smartcopying.


You can use music in a number of ways on campus as the University holds a licence which allows music performance for events in specific circumstances. For more information about using music see the Tertiary Music Licence.


You will require a licence or permission from the film distributor to screen a movie to an audience, unless in special circumstances. To screen a film under the education provision it must be a./only an audience of Federation staff and/or students, and b./ related to a course of study or education and c./not for profit.

Blogs, social media, posters, street performance, are all situations you are required to seek permission for use of content unless you can rely on another provision in the Copyright Act. There are some music uses allowed on official sites under the Tertiary Music Licence.

You cannot rely on Fair Dealing for research or study to make material available online, to communicate or reproduce.

You cannot rely on the Fair dealing exceptions (Fair dealing for research and study) to use third-party copyright material if you intend to use it outside of Federation University in a non-educational context. This may include using third-party copyright material in an ePortfolio or making assessment tasks available on an open website (such as YouTube).

Students do NOT have the right to upload teaching and learning content including exams, lecturer notes, or readings to open websites. This may result in legal action and/or student disciplinary action.

How can I use third-party copyright material in these situations?

There are several options available:

  • Seek permission from the copyright owner for the anticipated use
  • Remove the material completely.
  • Replace the material with material available under a suitable licence (e.g. replace images with images available under a Creative Commons licence).

There are tips on obtaining permission available here on the permissions page.

For further information contact the Copyright Office.

Students retain copyright over their own work, assignments and essays, and in notes of lectures that are in their own words. Whilst posting this material online to notes sharing sites such are Studocu or Coursehero may not be a copyright infringement, it may be an act of academic dishonesty and result in charges of collusion or plagiarism.

Posting Federation University material externally online without permission is a breach of Federation IP and can result in action against the uploader.