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Copyright: An overview

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

Who owns the copyright in a work?

The general rule under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) is that the first owner of copyright is the creator of the work, or the person responsible for making the sound recording, film, broadcast or published edition. There are, however, important exceptions to this general rule set out in the Copyright Act.

  • Employees. Where a work is made by an employee (rather than a freelancer) as part of that employee’s job, the employer usually owns copyright. Please view the University's Intellectual Property policy for more information on how this applies at Notre Dame.
  • Students. For more information on who owns student work, please view the Your own work section of the Copyright: Students guide.
  • Any of the rules in the Copyright Act about who will own copyright can be altered by agreement.

Please see the following Australian Copyright Council Information Sheets for more information:

What is a ‘work’?

A ‘work’ can be defined as the communication or expression of a physical or quantifiable idea. These include textual materials (such as books, journal and newspaper articles), computer programs, artistic, dramatic and musical works (such as plays, photographs, and paintings), films, websites, etc.

  • See the link to "An Introduction to Copyright in Australia" above for more information.