Students' introduction to copyright


As a student you will be using copyright material in the course of your study and research. Copyright also applies and protects works that you create as a student, such as your essays, assignments and theses. The University requires that all students respect copyright. Students, who breach copyright may be subject to disciplinary action.

Copyright DosCopyright Don'ts
  • Download infringing material from the web, especially music & movies, see below for further information
  • Make copyright material available on the web without permission. Fair Dealing does not allow you to communicate material on a public website

Using Copyright Material for Your Study and Research

Copyright applies to all material, for example, journal articles, books, films, music etc. Copyright usually belongs to the person who created the work and they have the right to control how their work is used. Just because you owe a copy of a book or song does not mean that you own the copyright and can do what you like with it. Material where the copyright is owned by another person is often called 3rd party copyright material.

Copyright affects many of the activities that you carry out as part of your study and research. Copyright applies when you:

  • photocopy or scan journal articles, books or other material from the library collections,
  • download or print information from the web,
  • include substantial extracts of other people's works in your essays or assignments, e.g. an image to illustrate a point that you are making.

There are provisions in the Copyright Act that allow you to use copyright material for research and study. You can use material if:

Copyright and the Web

Copyright also applies to websites. Just because you can access material on the web free of charge does not mean that you can download or print it out and do what you want with it. Some websites choose to make their material freely available with very few copyright restrictions. Check the Terms & Conditions of the website to see what is allowed and what copyright restrictions apply. You must abide by any terms & conditions that appear on the website. If no terms or conditions are specified then you may only use the website as would be permitted under provisions in the Copyright Act, such as Fair Dealing.

Be aware that some material available from websites may be infringing copies, i.e. it may be on the website without the copyright owner's permission. Do not use infringing material, otherwise you yourself will be infringing copyright and may be liable.

Where possible, link to or bookmark, a website as there is no copyright attached to linking or bookmarking. Do not link to infringing sites, or direct others to infringing sites, as this would be a breach of copyright.

You can use material from the web for your research and study under Fair Dealing, but you must always acknowledge the source and properly reference it as you would for print material.

For more information see Internet/Web Publishing

Music, Movies and Software

Many websites have music, movies & software that can be downloaded for free. Most of these websites use peer-2-peer (p2p) software to make the downloads quick and easy. Unfortunately, many of these movies, music & software are illegal copies. By downloading illegal material, you are breaching copyright and could be liable to disciplinary action from the University (if you use University equipment or networks) as well as legal action from the copyright owner.

Therefore, you should be careful if you are downloading music, movies or software, particularly free material.

  • Check the website carefully to make sure that it is a legitimate website. Read the Terms & Conditions - legitimate sites will have them - these should clearly state that the website is either the copyright owner or has permission to make the material available. They will explain what you may or may not do with material on the website.
  • Use a reputable website such as iTunes, and abide by any contractual conditions of the website. For example, you can download a copy of the iTunes software for your own personal use but you are not permitted to lend or sell the software to other people. In addition, music that you download from iTunes is your personal use.

There are a number of ways to access these materials for research and study purposes without infringing copyright.

  • Under certain circumstances, you may be able to copy music, movies & software under Fair Dealing for Research & Study.
  • Software - The University may have a licence for a particular piece of software, e.g. Endnote that can be downloaded by students for free. Alternatively, copies of the software may be available for use in libraries or IT Labs. More Information.
  • Movies & TV Programs - The University has a licence that allows University staff to record TV broadcasts for educational purposes. Your lecturer may have a copy that they can make available for you. Alternatively, copies of these broadcasts are available from the Giblin Eunson Library and streamed via the off air recording service. The Giblin Eunson Library also has an extensive collection of movies & TV programs available on DVD.
  • Music - The University has a licence that allows University staff to record radio broadcasts for educational purposes. Your lecturer may have a copy that they can make available for you. The Music Library has an extensive collection of music for students' research & study. The University also has a Music Licence that allows students to record and perform music as part of their course of study.

Personal Use

The Copyright Act allows you to make copies of material that you own for your own personal use, for example copying a CD that you own to your own iPod. Not all types of material that you own can be reproduced and conditions do apply.

You are also permitted to record TV & radio broadcasts for viewing or listening to at a more convenient time.

For more information, see Personal Use.