Protecting your work
In Australia, copyright material is subject to copyright as soon as it is created. While the author or creator does not have to do anything to gain copyright, it is advisable to make copyright ownership and any reuse conditions clear to others. Below is a list of ways that can assist you in ensuring that others both know you are the copyright owner of a work, and know how and if they can reuse your work within the guidelines you set out.
Include a copyright statement on your work
A copyright statement is usually the copyright symbol - a lower case c in a circle, the name of the copyright owner (who may or may not be the author) and the year the work was created, e.g. © J. Smith 2010 or © University of Melbourne 2022.
By including a copyright statement, you alert people to the fact that your work is subject to copyright and there may be restrictions in how they reuse it.
The University owns Intellectual Property (IP) created by staff in the course of, or incidental to, employment with the University, except copyright in Scholarly Works. For further details see the University’s Intellectual Property policy.
Provide a full bibliographic citation
By providing a full bibliographic citation you are assisting people in both knowing they should cite your work and providing them with the information to do so. Citing work isn’t just for published, peer reviewed research, it can be applicable to websites, blogs, images, and many other types of outputs. Check the University of Melbourne citation style guide to find a style that suits you and your work before adding it.
Include the work in a repository
By submitting your work to a repository you are creating a formal record of the version of the work and you as the owner. You can include metadata associated with the work and assign a Creative Commons licence to the work so people know how they can reuse it. Many repositories also generate a full bibliographic citation (as discussed above) based on the information you provide.
Such repositories include:
- Humanities Commons.
Include instructions on how to contact the copyright owner to seek reuse permission
By providing an email address or contact details people will be more inclined to contact you to ask permission.
Consider further impact and outreach potential for your copyright
The copyright you created might be translated into further impact in society, culture, environment, policy and other areas. To consider further pathways to create impact from your work, consider who could benefit from this work and how they might use it. This will help you understand how your work might be translated. If you would like to seek support exploring how this could be achieved, then the Business Development and Innovation team can provide advice for your journey and might advise to disclose your IP.
If your copyright is infringed, you have the right to take action against the individual or organisation responsible. You do need to make sure that their use is actually an infringement as there are provisions in the Copyright Act that allow people to use copyright material without needing permission.
If the University of Melbourne is the copyright owner of your work, you can seek assistance with any alleged infringement through the Copyright Office.
If you are the copyright owner, you are within your rights to issue a takedown notice or contact independent legal advice.
If you have transferred your copyright to a publisher, then any infringement should be pursued by the publisher.