Copyright Law in Australia

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About this sample


Words: 587 |

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3 min read

Published: Sep 20, 2018

Words: 587|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Sep 20, 2018

Australian copyright law is a very interesting topic. It has changed over time, along with the Australian government. Nowadays, it is close to other country's copyright regarding laws and is very complex, with many case-to-case decisions needed to be made. Over time, Australian copyright law had been greatly influenced by British and International copyright law. At first, the British had created the Statue of Anne, 1709, which gave some weak protection to authors. Until British law had been introduced to Australia, 1928, it gained the protection of engravings and sculptures. Over time, it evolved, adding speeches, paintings, and photographs. Long before British law had been adopted, some colonies (later states) had their own type of copyright law which could vary from colony to colony. The very first copyright statute was passed in a colony in Victoria, Australia.

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After Australia joined the Commonwealth, the Commonwealth constitution allowed the Parliament to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth. As the Australian constitution gave that power to the Parliament too, immediate changes had been made. From then on, copyright law and all related things no longer were the business of the states, but the federal parliament. The first copyright statute that evolved in the hands of the federal parliament, was the Copyright Act 1905, an adapted version of British law. Australia fully became part of British copyright law, when adopting the British Copyright law, 1911, in 1912. This act stayed in force, until 1969, when the Australian Copyright Act 1968 came into force. The Copyright Act 1968 was created after the 1911 Act was reviewed and apparently not fulfilling the Brussels Act of the Berne Convention. Until now, the 1968 Act is in force, however, some amendments had been made. Australian law protects literary works, musical works, artistic works, dramatic works, sound recordings, films, broadcast, and published editions. Before 2004, the work entered the public domain 50 years after death, however, after 2006, the works stayed out of public domain until 70 years after death.

In Australia, copyright does not apply to works published before May 1969. According to the 1968 Act, any work published after the author's death will come to a public domain not 70 years after the author's death, but 70 years after the publication. Unpublished literary, dramatic, and musical works hold indefinite copyright protection. The main copyright exception in Australia is fair dealing (not to misunderstand as fair use), which allow usage of copyrighted works that fall into the range of specific purpose. Each type of work varies, but some possibilities are research, study, news-reporting, review, criticism, judicial proceedings, or professional legal advice.

Some other exceptions fall under private copying. From 2006 on, recording broadcast to watch or listen to later, to make copies of audio recordings for domestic and private use, or to copy a newspaper, magazine, or literary work for private use. In Australia, a copyright notice does not have to be on a work for copyright to apply.

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However, it is recommended to add the date of first publication and owner. Copyrights can also be owned by the crown in Australia, however, they only last for 50 years after creation or publication. The exception is unpublished literary, dramatic, and musical works, which hold copyright indefinitely. Australian copyright has changed over the years, from the very first statue protecting authors to the Copyright Amendment Act 2017 has become effective. It has evolved in a way like no other and is definitely interesting with its complexity.

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Copyright law in Australia. (2018, September 04). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 22, 2024, from
“Copyright law in Australia.” GradesFixer, 04 Sept. 2018,
Copyright law in Australia. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 22 May 2024].
Copyright law in Australia [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2018 Sept 04 [cited 2024 May 22]. Available from:
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