Copying Material for Exams & Test Questions

The Copyright Act allows literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works to be included in exam papers. This provision allows images, poems, sheet music, newspaper articles, excerpts from books, journal articles or plays etc to be included in the exam as part of a question. There is no restriction on the amount of the literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work that can be included in the exam paper. This would also cover take-home exams. However, this provision only allows for the copyright material to be included for the purposes of the actual exam. If the exam is being made available to students in print or online as either a practice exam or study aid, the provision no longer applies.

Films, sound recordings or broadcasts can only be included in exams under limited circumstances, such as under the Part VA statutory licence or with permission from the copyright owners.

If an exam paper is made available as either a practice exam or a study aid, third party copyright material can only be included under the following circumstances:

  • Including Third Party Copyright Material in Exams

    Literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works, e.g. images, poems, sheet music, newspaper articles, excerpts from books, journal articles or plays etc., can be included in exams being made available as either practice exams or study aids under the Part VB Statutory Licence for educational purposes. This is the licence that allows textual or graphic material to be included in course packs, online via the LMS or used as class handouts. Conditions and limitations do apply and must be fulfilled if exams that include third party copyright material are to be used as practice or study aids.

    To use the statutory licence, you must:

    Limit the amount – You can only include 10% or 1 chapter whichever is greatest of a literary dramatic or musical work. You may use 1 article from a journal issue or newspaper issue (more if the articles are on the same topic).

    If you wish to use more than the limits allow you will need to seek permission from the copyright owner. This may be lengthy process and as such it may not be possible to gain permission and make the exam available in a timely fashion for students. An alternative is to consider removing the copyright material from the exam but this may affect the integrity of the exam. Contact the Copyright Office for further advice.

    Check the source of any images you use – If you include images from a print source, you can only do so if they are not separately available. Many images created for text books were created exclusively for that textbook and cannot be purchased separately. This may mean that you can use the images under the statutory licence. Images available electronically can be used so long as they are legitimate and are not an infringing copy. There is no need to check and see if electronic images can be purchased separately.

    Limit access to University of Melbourne enrolled students via a password protected website. Access to all past exam papers available via the University library is restricted to University of Melbourne staff and students.

    Attribute all material – A bibliographic citation or page of acknowledgements must be submitted with the exam paper if it is being released to the Library. There may be circumstances when it is appropriate not to attribute the material for example if part of the exam question involves identifying the material. For more information, contact the Copyright Office.

    Register material – If the exam paper is being made available online, i.e. via the Library website or the LMS, any copyright material included under the statutory licence must be registered with the Copyright Office. If a page of acknowledgements is submitted to the Library with the exam papers then library staff will register material with the Copyright Office.

    Display a copyright warning notice before or as the electronic file is opened. The warning notice will be automatically included in exam papers made available via the Library website.

  • Using Films, Sound Recordings or Broadcasts in Exams

    The provisions in the Copyright Act that allow literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works in exams do not cover using films, sound recording or radio or TV broadcasts regardless of whether it is for the purposes of the actual exam, as a study aid or in a practice exam.

    You can only use films (i.e. commercial copies of theatrical films, home videos etc) if:

    • The University owns copyright in the material.
    • Copyright in the work has expired.
    • You are copying or communicating an insubstantial portion.
    • You have an express licence to use the work, e.g. a contract, web site conditions, copyright owner has explicitly waived copyright, material is licenced under Creative Commons etc.
    • You have permission from the copyright owner to use the film in the exam.

    You can use TV or radio broadcasts in exams as outlined above or under the Part VA Statutory Licence for educational purposes.Conditions and limitations do apply and must be fulfilled.

    You must:

    Limit access to University of Melbourne enrolled students.

    Attribute the broadcasts used and comply with the marking requirements. There may be circumstances when it is appropriate not to attribute the material for example if part of the exam question involves identifying the material. For more information, contact the Copyright Office.

    Display the copyright warning notice on any broadcasts. A copy can be downloaded from:

    If you wish to use musical sound recordings in exams, you can do so under the Music Licence. The Music licence allows recorded music to be reproduce and performed for educational purposes, included the use in exams. Conditions and limitations apply:

    • the recordings must be part of the Music societies repertoire. Click here to search the repertoire.
    • the recording must be a legitimate copy, i.e. from a CD you own or have borrowed from the library. Music purchased from legitimate online music sites such as iTunes or Big Pond Music can be used.
    • the recordings can be provided in any format, e.g. on a CD or thumb drive. It is also possible to stream recordings or make them available for download as part of the exam. See Music Streaming for more information.
    • the recordings must comply with the marking requirements. The following information must be displayed either on the recording, its packaging, labeling or file headings:
      1. the title of each musical work;
      2. the name of each composer, lyricist and arranger of the musical work; and
      3. if the recording contains an ARIA sound recording, the artist/group name and the record company label.
      4. a Notice to Users
        This recording has been made by The University of Melbourne under the express terms of an educational licence between it, AMCOS and ARIA and may only be used as authorised by The University of Melbourne pursuant to the terms of that licence.
    • If you wish to use films, sound recordings or broadcasts outside of the provisions outlined above, you will need to seek permission from the copyright owner. This may be lengthy process and as such it may not be possible to gain permission and make the exam available in a timely fashion for students. An alternative is to consider removing the copyright material from the exam but this may affect the integrity of the exam. Contact the Copyright Office for further advice.

What must I do?

All subject coordinators will be asked to indicate whether or not third party copyright material, such as literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works, are included in their exam paper when they submit their paper to Student Management Services. If the exam is not being released to the Library – then there is no need to do anything as the exam paper provision will cover any literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works included in the exam.

If the exam paper is to be released and does include literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works; or if the exam paper includes films, sound recordings or broadcasts copyright will need to be managed. Subject coordinators will be able to chose how the copyright material in the exam paper is managed to ensure that they comply with their copyright obligations.