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Copyright: An overview

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

What are "moral rights"?

“Moral rights” are the rights individual creators have in relation to copyright works or films they have created. Moral rights are separate from the “economic rights” of the copyright owner.

The creator of a work, who holds moral rights, is not necessarily the owner of copyright in the work. This is sometimes expressed as ‘all rights reserved’.

Creators have three moral rights. These are the right to:

  • be attributed (or credited) for their work;
  • not have their work falsely attributed; and
  • not have their work treated in a derogatory way.

What types of material do moral rights apply to?

Moral rights apply to:

  • literary material such as novels, screenplays, poems, song lyrics and journal articles; 
  • artistic works such as paintings, drawings, architecture, sculpture, craft work, photographs, maps and plans;
  • musical works;
  • dramatic works such as ballets, plays, screenplays and mime;
  • computer programs; and
  • cinematograph films such as feature films, documentaries, music videos, television programs and television commercials.

Protecting your copyright - Intellectual Property

The University of Notre Dame Australia 'Intellectual Property Policy' prescribes who owns the copyright in works created by Notre Dame staff and students. Generally Notre Dame students own the copyright in their work (including most theses), while the University owns the copyright in course materials and computer works created by staff and in some other cases (e.g. University-commissioned works).  Generally the University does not claim ownership of other copyright works created by staff but instead claims a royalty-free non-exclusive licence to use them.

Please see the Intellectual Property Policy for more information.

More Information

The Copyright Amendment (Moral Rights) Act 2000 amends the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) by providing two new "moral rights" for individual creators:

  • the right of attribution of authorship; and
  • the right of integrity of authorship.


For more information please see the following Australian Copyright Council Information sheet: