Limits on Using Copyright Material for Teaching

The Copyright Act includes a number of provisions that allow copyright material, to be used for teaching. The following limits apply when using material on the LMS or in coursepacks.

If you wish to use material that is not covered by these limits or use more than is allowed, we can seek permission from the copyright owner. Contact the Copyright Office Permission Service.

  • Journal Articles

    You may use 1 article from a journal issue or 2 or more articles from the same issue if they are on the same topic.

    Many journal articles are available from library databases via Discovery. You should link to articles rather than printing or downloading them. Use of these library resources is governed by a licence between the University and the database provider, which often do not allow articles to be printed off or downloaded as pdfs to be made available online for teaching purposes. If you do need to print or download articles contact us.

  • Literary, Dramatic or Musical Works, and Anthologies

    (books, poems, plays, scripts, music scores, sheet music)

    You can copy 10% of the total number of pages or 1 chapter (whichever is greater). You can copy more than 10% or 1 chapter (even the whole work) if the work is not available for purchase, for example because it is out of print or unpublished. You should keep records that show if the work is out of print or not available for purchase. You are not required to purchase a second hand copy of the work or special editions of the work that are more expensive than the standard edition. We can assist you if you think the work is not available for purchase.

    You can also copy more than 10% or 1 chapter (even the whole work) if the work is a published edition. A published edition is where the underlying work is out of copyright (for example works by Shakespeare or Mozart) but copyright applies to the layout and editing of that particular edition.


    You may copy a literary or dramatic work in an anthology if the work does not exceed 15 pages. This applies to both print and electronic anthologies, however the electronic anthology must be paginated (e.g. in pdf). If the work exceeds more than 15 pages, you may only copy a reasonable portion of the work (i.e. 10% or one chapter if the work includes chapters) unless the work has not be separately published.

    You may copy multiple works from the same anthology so long as they do not exceed 15 pages. However, it is not the intention of the Copyright Act to allow the whole anthology to be copied in this manner.

  • Artistic Works

    (digital images, photographs, graphs, diagrams)

    If the image is from a print source, e.g. a textbook, the whole image can be used if it cannot be separately purchased at a ordinary commercial price within a reasonable time.

    If the image is from an electronic source, e.g. a website, then the whole image can be used. There is no need to check whether or not is separately available.

  • Recorded Music

    Recorded music can be streamed via the LMS under the Music Licence. You can also reproduce music to play in class or give to students.

    Only music from the music industry's repertoire is covered. Check the APRA/AMCOS website or contact us. Some conditions and restrictions apply, for more information see The Music Licence.

    Recorded music from radio broadcasts can also be used.

  • Other (Non Musical) Sound Recordings

    You can perform non musical sound recordings, for example from a commercial CD, in class but you cannot make them available on the LMS or make copies for students. If you wish to do this, you will need to seek permission from the copyright owner. In some cases, it may be possible to use a broadcast copy, if it has been broadcast on radio.

  • Films

    You can show a film or TV program from a commercial DVD in class but you cannot make it available on the LMS or make copies for students. If you wish to do this, you will need to use a broadcast copy or seek permission from the copyright owner.

  • Radio and TV Broadcasts

    Material broadcast on free to air television and radio, including digital channels, can be used. Pay TV is also covered if you, or the University, have a subscription, as is satellite TV. "Catch Up TV" services, such as the ABC's iView, can be linked to. They may also be downloaded if the website allows it.

    You can record the program in part or in full, or a single episode or the entire series, whichever is required for teaching. You must mark each copy, either on the item itself or on the container, with the following:

    • the name of the institution for which the copy is made, i.e. the University of Melbourne;
    • a reference to Part VA of the Copyright Act;
    • the date on which the program was broadcast or transmitted;
    • the date on which the copy was made

    Digital Media Services can assist in recording upcoming programs or by obtaining previously broadcast material.

  • Podcasts

    Podcasts can be downloaded under the Part VA licence if they were originally 'born' as broadcasts, e.g. Andrew Denton's Enough Rope was originally broadcast on the ABC. It is recommended that you link to podcasts when possible. Podcasts and webcasts that are 'online only' and have not been broadcast 'free-to-air' are not included under the Part VA licence and should only be linked to.

    Podcasts and webcasts that were originally broadcast overseas can be copied - if the country of origin has signed the Rome Convention. Many countries, such as the United States, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong and Singapore, are not signatories. Podcasts from these countries can still be linked to.

  • Web Sites

    It is recommended that you link to web sites. There are no restrictions on linking to web sites, but you should not link to infringing sites. If you do want to print or download material, check the terms and conditions of the web site. If there are no terms and conditions, you may be able to use material under the statutory licences and the limits outlined here will apply to the different types of material.

  • Computer Software or Games

    There are no provisions for reproducing or communicating computer software or games. If you wish to use computer software or games for teaching, you will need to seek permission or purchase a licence. The University purchases licences for many different types of software that can be used for teaching, for more information see: Software and applications.