Licences and Contracts

Within the copyright context, many different licences are used for a variety of purposes and/or circumstances. A licence is generally granted by a copyright owner (or on their behalf) giving a user or a group of users some or all rights to use copyright material for certain purposes. The conditions of the licence override the standard provisions of copyright legislation and users must always adhere to the stated conditions of the licence. Some of the different types of licences include:

Statutory Licences (for educational purposes) - These are licences that are provided within the Copyright Act (set up under Part VA and VB of the Act) for use by certain groups for certain purposes. The most relevant for the University are the Statutory Licences for educational purposes; these allow the University to copy and communicate copyright material for educational purposes.

Music Licence - This is a licence between the Universities and the Music Collecting Societies of Australia that allows limited use of recorded music for educational purposes. For more information see The Music Licence.

Licensed Databases - The University Library subscribes to a vast array of online information, such as databases and electronic journals. Each of these subscriptions is underpinned by a licence or a contract between the University and the database provider. The licence or contract will outline how the database can be used and by whom. Conditions of the licence for individual databases vary considerably. If you intend to use information from a licensed Library database for any purpose other than your own research or study, please contact the Copyright Office for advice.

Terms and Conditions of Use - Many websites, media items (CDs, DVDs, podcasts, software etc.) and printed publications contain a copyright statement or disclaimer and/or 'Terms and Conditions' statement which provide details of the permitted uses of the material. These terms and conditions should be strictly adhered to.

Creative Commons - Creative Commons is a way to licence your copyright material to allow people to use that material in certain ways without having to seek permission. The licences allow the public to use material free of charge under the varying levels of restrictions that are outlined in the six standardised licences. - the popular photo sharing website - is an example of a web service using Creative Commons licences. If you are planning to use such a licence make sure that you read as much information as possible to fully understand both pros and cons.

General Waiver - Sometimes a copyright owner waives copyright by saying, for example, that their material may be freely used for any purposes, or for non-profit purposes only, etc.

Commissioning Works - If you are commissioning or contracting someone to create a work for you, it is recommended that you have the creator sign a licence transferring some or all of their rights to you. Otherwise, the creator of a commissioned work owns all the rights in the work even thought you may have paid for it. The person commissioning the work may have an implied licence unless the contract/licence assigns copyright to someone else. The contract/licence may also specify when and how the work will be used. For information contact the Copyright Office or Legal Services.

For more information see Australian Copyright Council Information Sheet G024 Assigning & Licensing Rights.