Copyright for students

The Copyright Act provides some exceptions to the rights of copyright owners allowing students to use material without permission from copyright owners as long as they comply with certain conditions. This is called Fair dealing for research or study. It allows students to copy limited amounts of literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works as part of their study as long as they comply with the following conditions:

  • The purpose of your proposed use must be research or study. This would include work you are required to undertake as part of the course you are enrolled in at the University.
  • The proposed use must be 'fair'.

This is determined by taking into account:

  • The purpose and character of the dealing
  • The nature of the work or adaptation
  • The possibility of obtaining the work or adaptation within a reasonable time at an ordinary commercial price
  • The effect of the dealing upon the potential market for, or value of, the work or adaptation
  • The amount and substantiality of the part copied taken in relation to the whole work or adaptation

In most cases you can only copy a reasonable portion of a work. A reasonable portion is the whole of one or more articles from a periodical publication if they are for the same research or course of study, 10% or one chapter of a book or 10% of the number of words in an electronic copy. There are no guidelines for copying of artistic works.

These sections can also be used by staff who wish to copy material for their own research activities.

Generally the fair dealing exceptions can only be used by individuals - i.e. staff cannot use fair dealing to copy on behalf of students - and are different to the statutory licence s.113P that allows the university staff to make multiple copies of material for educational purposes. There is no payment required for the use of the fair dealing exceptions.

Using copyright material outside Federation University

Students need to be aware that they cannot rely on the Fair dealing exceptions (Fair dealing for research and study) to use third-party copyright material if they 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, Course Hero or StuDocu).

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.

Video - 11:10 min