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Notre Dame 5 Star University
University Library




Copyright and legal re-use

Contains information on using (and re-using) material that isn't your own, and the limits that apply to this use.

Using films and video clips (and their sound recordings)

  For Students For Teaching Staff For Publishing

Films#, Video Clips and their Sound Recordings*
Includes: Videos, Visual Images in Sound and Film.
**DVDs: Permission always required.

Can be copied** (or used) in entirety.
Attribution required.

Can be copied** (or used) in entirety.
Attribution required.
Must apply appropriate
copyright notice.

Permission required.
Usage fees may apply.
Attribution required.

What can I copy or download?

The best source of information on what you can legally use for educational purposes as a student, or staff member can be found on page 3 of the following information sheet (PDF download). If you are unsure, please speak to the Copyright Officer.

DVD's and videos (cinematograph films) are protected by copyright. You cannot make copies of commercial DVDs without the permission of the copyright owner, unless the use is for research or study, criticism or review, parody or satire; and has been determined as being fair.

The audio visual material held within these formats also usually contains “underlying” material which may be protected by copyright, such as:

  • a script or screenplay
  • and each piece of music on the soundtrack
  • lyrics to the music
  • photographs
  • artwork in the titles or credits
  • dance sequences

If you download a commercially-released movie from the internet for free, it may be an infringing copy (meaning that it was put there without permission from the copyright owner). This means you infringe copyright by downloading it.

Copying requires permission unless a special exception applies.

Reference: Australian Copyright Council. Information Sheet: DVDs & Videos: Copying & Downloading. Retrieved from http://

Sound recordings are also protected by copyright. This copyright is separate and additional to any copyrights in material on the recording.

Thus in a CD there may be:

  • a copyright in each musical work;
  • a copyright in the lyrics to each song; and
  • a copyright in the sound recording of the music and lyrics.

Creators of musical or literary works also have moral rights in relation to their work.

Reference: Australian Copyright Council. Information Sheet: Music & Copyright. Retrieved from http://

Finding copyright-friendly material

The Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) contains provisions (sections 103A and 103C) which allow you to copy a small amount of an audio-visual item, including sound recordings and film/video clips, for the purpose of research and study or criticism or review.

You must provide sufficient acknowledgement of the material copied by referring to the title, author, etc. where applicable.

Subscribed and licensed material

Creative Commons material

With Creative Commons (CC) licences, creators can tell the world that they’re happy for their work to be copied, shared or even remixed. When a creator releases their work under a CC licence, you know what you can and can’t do with the work. As a result, you can freely copy, share and sometimes modify and remix CC material without having to worry about copyright, as long as you follow the licence.

There are a number of content repositories that allow you to search their website for CC licensed content. You can do this using many popular search engine and search tools.