Copyright infringement

Copyright infringement occurs when copyright material is used either without permission of the copyright owner or as allowed under the Copyright Act. There are exceptions or provisions in the Copyright Act that allow copyright material to be used without having to get permission from the copyright owner. You can also infringe copyright by authorising an infringement. Authorisation is where you direct or sanction the use of infringing material, for example by linking to infringing material on the web or instructing someone else to infringe copyright.

The University can be held liable for any copyright infringement made using its equipment or networking facilities.

Staff and students should be aware of the University's policies on intellectual property (IP) and computer use, as well as related topics. The links below provide further information:

There are many practical steps that you can take to avoid infringing copyright:

  • Understand when you can use copyright material and be aware of your obligations - there are provisions in the copyright that allow material to be used for teaching and research or study.
  • Know your rights! - If you create copyright material, know your rights as an author. You can also take step to risk the possibility of your own work being infringed. See protecting your work for more information.
  • Be aware of the copyright status/legitimacy of material - Any material that you use should be a legitimate copy. Try to source any material that you use from reputable sources. Many websites make material available without permission from the creator or the copyright owner and as such are infringing copyright.
  • Ensure that printers, scanners, photocopiers and other audio-visual recording equipment display the appropriate copyright warning notices - Equipment that can be used to copy or reproduce material such as printers, scanners, CD burners, photocopiers etc. should have a copyright warning notice displayed on them to remind users of their copyright obligations.
  • Do not download free music or movies via peer to peer (P2P) networks - Most music and movies that can be freely downloaded using p2p software such as BitTorrent are infringing copyright, as these have not been made available with the copyright owner's knowledge or permission. Staff and students who download illegal music and movies can be subject to disciplinary action from the University and legal action from the copyright owner.
  • Make your students aware of their obligations - Provide information to your students via their LMS page or as part of their course information. This is particularly important if your students are sharing material publicly or working collaboratively, for example on a blog or wiki.
  • If you are not sure, ask! - The Copyright Office has a phone and email query service and we are happy to answer your questions about copyright. Information sessions can also be run on request for departments or faculties and tailored to suit their needs.

If you are aware of a staff member or a student infringing copyright, remind them of their obligations and ask them to stop infringing copyright. You can also refer the matter to your Head of Department or the Copyright Office for assistance.

If you receive notification, known as a takedown notice, from a copyright owner alleging that University equipment or facilities have been used to infringe copyright, contact the Copyright Office immediately.

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