Copyright Ownership at the University of Melbourne

Material Created by Academic Staff

Ownership in material created by academic staff (including casual staff) is determined by the University's IP statute. Under the IP statute, ownership varies depending on whether or not the material is scholarly material or teaching material:

  • Copyright in all scholarly material is owned by the academic, unless there is a research, funding or other legal agreement to the contrary. The University has a non-exclusive licence to use scholarly works freely for teaching and research, subject to preservation of the rights of the author.
  • Copyright in any teaching material created by academic staff after 12 March 2007 is owned by the University.
  • Copyright in any teaching material created by academic staff before 12 March 2007 is owned by the academic, however the University has a non-exclusive licence to use these teaching materials for teaching and research, subject to preservation of the rights of the author.

Academic staff also hold moral rights over material they have created, and as such must be attributed as the creator of the material, even if the University owns copyright.

Material Created by Professional Staff

The University will own copyright in all material created by professional staff (including casual staff) as part of their employment. Professional staff also hold moral rights over material they have created, and as such must be attributed as the creator of the material. even though the University owns copyright.

Material Created by Students

Students own copyright in all material they create as part of their studies. If the student is a research student and they have signed a funding or research agreement, then ownership may be subject to the terms of the agreement. If you wish to use material created by a student for University purposes, you must seek permission from the student unless an exception in the Copyright Act applies.

If the student is employed by the University then the University will own copyright in all material created as part of their employment, except for scholarly works if they are employed as an academic.

Material Created by Independent Contractors

Independent contractors, including people commissioned to create material for the University, should complete the Independent Contractor Agreement (Non-Academic Services) or the Independent Contractor Agreement (Academic Services). Under this agreement, the University owns copyright in any material created subject to the agreement and ensures the University has the necessary rights to use the material.

Independent contractors hold moral rights over material they have created, and as such must be attributed as the creator of the material, even though the University owns copyright.

For more information about ownership of copyright at the University, refer to the University's Intellectual Property Principles.

Copyright in Commissioned Works

Copyright in commissioned or freelance work is generally owned by the creator of the material depending on the type of work. However, the person who commissioned the work is entitled to use the work for the purpose for which it is commissioned.

For certain types of works, the Copyright Act states that the person who commissioned the work or paid for it owns copyright. For more information see:

If you are commissioning a work, it is recommended that you have a written agreement that outlines who owns copyright. See the two agreements listed above.