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The Australian Copyright Act 1968

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A person’s creative skill and labor are protected in Australia by the Australian Copyright Act 1968. This Act defines the legally enforceable rights of creators of creative and artistic works under Australian law. Copyright allows authors and creators of original material to do and to authorize others to do specified acts regarding that original material. It gives the creators (or authors) the legal rights and opportunities to generate income regardless of who owns the creation. Copyright provides economic rights to the owner. The protection is automatically given when a work is created. The © symbol is used to notify others that the work is protected by copyright.

The rights of the copyright owner include the right to copy, publish, communicate (via broadcast or online) and publicly perform the copyrighted material.

Copyright owners also have ‘moral rights’ which can be defined as ‘the right of integrity of authorship, the right of attribution of authorship and the rights against the false attribution of authorship’ (The Short Guide to Copyright; Australian Government 30 Nov 2016). Moral rights provide the creator or author with the right to have their creation (in whatever form it may be) attributed to them and not someone else and to also not have their work treated in an offensive manner. Moral rights last for 70 years after the creator has died.

The Australian Copyright Act 1968 separates the material into 2 categories – ‘works’ (music, art, literature, and drama) and ‘other subject matter’ (film, recording, broadcasts and published editions of works).

Copyright protects artistic works such as paintings, drawings, cartoons, sculptures, architectural plans, photographs, maps and plans; and literary works such as the novels, poems, song lyrics, libretto, scripts, reports, and articles in journals.

Copyright does not cover ideas, concepts, styles, techniques, and works that are too small or non-original to be protected as copyrighted works – ie. made up words, names, slogans, single words, titles, and headlines.

Copyright protects:

  • textual material (“literary works”) such as journal articles, novels, screenplays, poems, song lyrics, and reports;
  • computer programs (a sub-category of “literary works”);
  • compilations (another sub-category of “literary works”) such as anthologies – the selection and arrangement of material may be protected separately from the individual items contained in the compilation;
  • artistic works such as paintings, drawings, cartoons, sculpture, craft work, architectural plans, buildings, photographs, maps, and plans;
  • dramatic works such as choreography, screenplays, plays and mime pieces;
  • musical works: that is, the music itself, separately from any lyrics or recording;
  • cinematograph films: the visual images and sounds in a film, video or DVD are protected separately from any copyright in works recorded on the film or video, such as scripts and music;
  • sound recordings: the recording itself is protected by copyright, in addition to, for example, the music or story that is recorded;
  • broadcasts: TV and radio broadcasters have a copyright in their broadcasts, which is separate from the copyright in the films, music and other material which they broadcast;
  • published editions: publishers have copyright in their typographical arrangements, which is separate from the copyright in works reproduced in the edition (such as poems or illustrations or music).

The copyright policy at Plan2go – Creative Services needs to include information regarding websites, intranet, information technology, software platforms, and software applications.

A website is not protected by copyright. However, the website’s components are protected:

  • articles, blog posts and most content in written form (literary works);
  • photos, logos, illustrations, charts, graphical elements and other visual content (artistic works);
  • recorded audio such as songs and podcasts (sound recordings) and any underlying music scores (musical works);
  • video and animation (cinematograph films);
  • tables of words or symbols (compilations).

The software is protected by copyright as a type of ‘literary work’. This includes all types of software such as desktop applications, mobile apps, and web-based applications. The Copyright Act refers to ‘computer program’ as software and defines software as ‘a set of statements or instructions to be used directly or indirectly in a computer in order to bring about a certain result.’ Other materials associated with software may be protected by copyright separately:

  • text;
  • databases;
  • visual art (including charts, maps, and plans);
  • videos (instructional videos, commercials and computer video games);
  • music;
  • sound recordings.

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The Australian Copyright Act 1968. (2018, October 26). GradesFixer. Retrieved December 5, 2022, from
“The Australian Copyright Act 1968.” GradesFixer, 26 Oct. 2018,
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