Copyright basics

Copyright is a set of legal rights given to authors, artists, performers, and so on to protect them and their work.
Copyright applies to all original work as soon as it is written down, recorded or saved. It isn’t possible to copyright an idea, concept or name – though patents or trademarks can be used to protect these.

Copyright gives an author (etc.) exclusive rights to:

  • copy their work
  • publish their work
  • put their work online
  • perform their work in public
  • adapt their work (e.g. translate it)
An author can also give others permission to do these things.

Copyright provides three “moral rights”:

  • the right to be identified as author (etc.) of a piece of work
  • the right not to be falsely identified as author of a piece of work
  • the right not to have a piece of work used or altered so as to harm an author’s reputation
In most cases, copyright lasts for the life of the author, plus 70 years.
In general, academic staff own the copyright in their research, while the University owns the copyright in material produced for teaching or by general staff.

Teaching staff

As a member of ACU’s teaching staff, you will interact with copyright in three main ways:

  • preparation of teaching materials
  • use of teaching materials (both face-to-face and online)
  • evaluating material produced or collated by students

Explore copyright in more depth

Understand how to use copyright material in teaching

Please contact us if you have a specific copyright question not answered by the library resources.

Office of General Counsel templates

Learn more
Page last updated on 20/05/2024

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