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Copyright for Teaching: Introduction

This guide introduces principles of copyright law related to copying and reproducing works for the purposes of teaching and learning.

What is copyright?

Copyright refers to a bundle of exclusive rights of a creator of a work, which includes rights to reproduce, publish, perform in public, communicate, and adapt their work. Copyright protection is automatic when an original work is created in a tangible form. This means that a work does not need to be registered in order for copyright to apply.

In Australia, copyright law is governed by the Copyright Act 1968 and associated legislation.

The Copyright Act also contains specific exceptions to a creator’s rights to make copyright works available for specific purposes, such as education. Licenses from a copyright owner specifying permitted uses also enable copyright works to be used in ways that would otherwise infringe the rights of the owner.

For more information, including the duration of copyright protection, see this Introduction to Copyright Law in Australia from the Australian Copyright Council. 

This guide focuses on copyright implications for teaching and learning at UWA, and is provided as a summary for general guidance only. Additional information is available from the University Library.


A brief introduction to copyright in Australia

Why copy if you can link?

Linking to an item that is located online can avoid copyright implications and provide access to more of an item than may be allowed under copyright or licence. Linking to an electronic book, an article in an online journal or newspaper, or a video or image on the Internet, does not create a copy of the work.

Check whether the online source has a linking policy before making links.

Contact the Library for more information about subscription license restrictions or for help in finding links to materials.

You can also use the Course Materials Online (CMO) service to have links set up to reading materials for your unit.

Where can I get more help?

If you have any questions about copyright, please contact the UWA Copyright Librarian

For more information about licensed resources and finding open access materials, contact a librarian in your subject area