Rights of copyright owners

Copyright owners have exclusive rights over material in which they own copyright, including:

  • Reproducing the work: photocopying, copying by hand, filming, recording and scanning
  • Publishing or making the work public, in print or electronic format
  • Communicating the work, e.g. making it available on the web or emailing it
  • Performing the work in public
  • Making an adaptation of the work, such as a translation or an arrangement
  • Broadcasting the work or transmitting to subscribers.

If you want to use copyright material in a way that is covered by one of these rights, you must get permission from the copyright owner, unless an exception in the Copyright Act applies.

Certain actions, such as linking to copyright material available on a public website or lending copyright material (e.g. to a friend or by a library), are not subject to copyright and you do not need to get permission from the copyright owner.

The rights of the copyright owner vary between different types of works protected under copyright. For more information see:

These rights can be transferred, assigned or licensed to another person or party.

The Copyright Act also grants authors and creators, whether or not they own copyright, moral rights to their work. Moral rights are personal rights and cannot be transferred.

Communicating material

Communication is defined as 'making available online' or 'electronically transmitting'. This can be done via uploading the material to a site or by sending material to another by email or any other means. A work has been made available online when it is uploaded to a server and can be accessed. If the work is uploaded to the server but not able to be accessed, then it is not considered to have been 'made available' as defined in the Copyright Act.

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