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Copyright: An overview

Provides an overview on how Copyright applies in higher education, including Creative Commons and Open Access.

Why does the University have licences and what are they?

As the University is an 'educational institution', we are able to rely on statutory licences within the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth), in conjunction with remuneration agreements with certain collecting societies. This allows educational institutions to copy and share text and images for educational purposes.

Collecting Societies

Copyright Agency Australia (CAL)

The Australian Government appointed the Copyright Agency to manage the 'statutory licence' in the Copyright Act that allows educational institutions to copy and share text and images for educational purposes.  

Also know as, the Copyright Agency Limited (CAL) Licence. 
  • This is administered by the Copyright Agency Limited, and covers the copying and communication of literary, dramatic, and artistic works, in both print and digital formats.
  • The current agreement with Copyright Agency provides that you can copy or communicate a work under the New Statutory Licence if the amount is no more than the amount that would have been permitted under Part VB. This is designed to create certainty while the terms of the new agreement are negotiated.


Music Licence (APRA/AMCOS, ARIA, PPCA)

Universities Australia has signed an agreement with APRA-AMCOS, ARIA and PPCA that allows music to be recorded and used in a number of ways. This is known as the ʻUniversities Licenceʼ. Under the Universities Licence, staff and students at eligible universities can:

  • make audio and video recordings for use at university events, of university events and for educational purposes (that is, activities associated with a particular course of study or research). 
  • make audio and video recordings available to students and staff on the university intranet or content management system for streaming or download provided:
    • the relevant material is stored only on the institutions intranet server; and
    • access is username and password protected
  • give free performances of live and recorded music for educational purposes and university events.

All recordings made under the Licence must contain a special notice indicating that the recording has been made under the terms of the Licence and there are limitations on the distribution and sale of the recordings. In addition, some types and uses of music are excluded from the Licence. For example, the Licence does not permit copying recordings for use in, or making recordings of a performance of a grand right work (such as an opera or musical). ​

Activities not Permitted under the Collective Music Licence

The terms of the licence agreement do not include the right to:

  • download any copyright musical works from material made available via the University's Intranet or online teaching systems;
  • reproduce, download, forward or otherwise convey to any other parties all or part of any copyright musical work via the Internet or email systems;
  • reproduce, communicate, transmit or perform an infringing copy of any copyright sound recording (e.g. a sound recording that has been obtained or downloaded illegitimately, and is therefore itself in breach of copyright);
  • reproduce any cinematograph film or any literary, dramatic or artistic work (including the lyrics associated with musical works in graphic form);
  • broadcast any musical work or sound recording;
  • make any unauthorised recordings or video recordings or performances contrary to the Copyright Act;
  • make reproductions of copyright musical works for the sole or dominant purpose of delivering these reproductions either via the Intranet or to the public via the Internet; or make reproductions available to a student or third party for such a Prohibited Use.
  • perform a copyright musical work in public at any event where a fee for entry is charged; or where the University's premises have been let for hire or otherwise to a third party (including a student group) other than for the educational purpose of the University.



The current agreement with Screenrights terminated on the 31 December 2017. While a new agreement is being negotiated, you can continue to rely on the New Statutory Licence to copy and communicate broadcasts. There are no copying or communication limits for broadcasts under the New Statutory Licence (this was also the case under the Part VA statutory licence).