Skip to content

IT Copyright Issues

Technology has transformed the way we teach. In addition to digitising textual material for distribution to students, lecturers can now also easily disseminate audio or audiovisual material such as lecture recordings and television or music clips. Users of these technologies should be aware of the copyright issues that may arise.

Copying Material From Websites

Many people believe that material on websites are in the public domain and free for anyone to copy, download or print. This is INCORRECT. If the website material falls under any of the types of works protected by Copyright law, then there will be an owner of copyright in the material who has exclusive rights in relation to that material. Beware: the owner of the website may not necessarily be the owner of copyright in all materials on the website – documents, images and music on websites are often taken from other sources.

You must first check if there are any terms and conditions on the website governing use of the material (often contained in the Terms of Use or Copyright Notice at the bottom of websites).  Many websites do permit copying but may be limited to Personal Use, educational purposes and/or non-commercial purposes.

If no terms and conditions exist, and you wish to copy it for teaching purposes at the University, you may do so in reliance on the Part VA or Part VB licences, but you must include a full citation of the website on the copy. If you wish to use it for your own purposes, you may be able to rely on the Fair Dealing exception. [Please note that any express website terms will override the Part VA or Part VB licences]

Even if the website terms and conditions grant permission for copies to be made, if there is material on there that is attributed to a third party, or that you reasonably believe may be owned by a third party, you should obtain permission from that third party. The website owner may not be authorised to grant permission on behalf of that third party.

return to top


In general, it is acceptable to include hyperlinks to a third party website (a link, which when clicked on, will bring you straight to the website) in your material, unless the website’s terms and conditions prohibit this.
If you wish to do so, you should always link to the website’s homepage, or to subpages which are clearly identifiable as being part of the third party’s website. Linking to subpages which are not clearly identifiable as the third party’s or directly to documents available on the website (also called ‘deep linking’) may result in the following problems:

  • the material may be presented out of its proper context
  • users may not realise they are accessing a third party’s website or material
  • the subpage or document may not contain the relevant copyright warnings or conditions that would be contained in the home page.

While deep linking is not a breach of copyright, it has the risk of resulting in claims that you are engaging in misleading conduct or are passing off the third party’s material as your own material.

Hyperlinking to infringing material
You should never hyperlink to websites that contain material which you know or have a reasonable belief is in breach of copyright (e.g. websites providing illegal downloads; YouTube clips of commercial films or broadcasts). If you do so, the University may be liable for authorising copyright infringement.

return to top

Downloading or File Sharing Music and Video

Most music recordings or movies available for free on websites, or by file-sharing software (e.g. BitTorrent, LimeWire) are not made available with the copyright owners’ consent and are illegal copies. When you download an illegal file, you too are making a copy in breach of copyright. Similarly, if you file share or make copyrighted music recordings or films available for download, you will be in breach of copyright.

Furthermore, using University equipment to download or distribute illegal copies is a breach of the University’s IT Acceptable Use and Security Policy.

return to top

Format Shifting

There are limited provisions in the Copyright Act for copying (in part or in full) material for personal use. These provisions include converting recorded music from CDs into digital files; recording television and radio broadcasts so they can be viewed/listened to at a later time; and format shifting other types of material such as books, magazines or photographs (e.g. by scanning).
For further information, refer to the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department’s Short Guide to Copyright.

As these provisions are for private and domestic use only, any such copying must not be done using University equipment.

return to top

Infringing Material on University Website

If you receive any notice alleging that material on a University website is infringing copyright, or if you come across any material on a University website that you reasonably believe is in breach of copyright, please follow the Take Down Notice procedures.

return to top

University Material on Other Websites

If you come across any University-developed mateiral on external websites which you reasonably believe should not be there or has not been properly attributed, please contact the Copyright Officer.

return to top

Need Help?

Email and we will respond within 24 hours.
Rm G07 Mitchell Building, North Terrace, Adelaide  SA  5005

Contact us
Email Us Feedback Form   Call us +61 8 8313 4539
North Terrace Detail