Copyright in Australia
Copyright in Australia is covered by the Copyright
Act 1968 (Cth), although regular amendments
have been made since that date, usually when dealing
with new technologies, or concerns that arise
from time to time. Copyright is just one area
of the law dealing with Intellectual Property
The general rule in Australia, is that the first
owner of copyright is the creator of a work, with
a primary exception to this being where a work
is created by an employee of a business as part
of that person's job.
For freelance commercial photography, this means
that copyright is automatically held by the photographer.
This situation is similar to the USA, and a majority
of countries around the world.
Another feature of Australian Copyright law,
is that there is no requirement for registration,
or even the need to add a copyright notice to
a work. A copyright notice is often added however
to facilitate the easy recognition of copyright
ownership, or to allow tracking the author of
Copyright in a work operates for the lifetime
of the author + 70 years.
Rights of the Copyright Owner
Owners of copyright have a number of rights.
They have the exclusive rights to;
||Reproduce the work.
||Make the work public for the first time,
||Communicate the work to the public.
Copyright Owners also have the rights to license
the use of their works, in return for a "Valuable
Consideration". Whilst this most often refers
to a financial payment, it can also refer to a
contra arrangement of items or services. Providing
a license is in effect giving permission for the
licensee to use copyright work.
Licensing can be specific as to the conditions
under which works can be used. See our page on
Licensing Explained for more details. Any conditions
required by a client for usage can be arranged
through the creation of an appropriate license.
Infringement of Copyright
Unless a special exception is applicable, people
or companies will require permission (i.e. a license)
to use copyright material in the ways covered
under the exclusive rights of the Copyright Owner.
Using part of a work can also constitute
infringement if the part used is a distinctive
or important part of the original work.
A number of Moral Rights are held by the creator
of a work, whether or not they retain ownership
of copyright. Primarily, these give the creator
the rights to;
||Be attributed as the creator of their work
||Take action if their work is falsely attributed,
||Take action if their work is altered in
such a way that is prejudicial to their reputation.
Moral rights cannot be assigned to another entity
as copyright may, however permission may be granted
to waive the rights.
If you wish to investigate further, information
regarding all areas of Australian Copyright law
can be obtained from the Australian Copyright
Council at www.copyright.org.au