Obtaining Permission from Copyright Owners

You will need to seek permission from the copyright owner to use material if:

  • your planned use invokes one of the exclusive copyright rights, e.g. copying, publishing, adapting, performing or communicating; and
  • you cannot rely on an exception in the Copyright Act, e.g. Educational statutory license, fair dealing; and
  • the copyright owner has not already granted permission, e.g. via Creative Commons licence, website terms and conditions.

You do not need to seek permission if the University owns copyright in the material (even if it was created by a different area or school from your own) and you wish to use the material for University purposes.

You should keep a record of all searches and attempts to locate the copyright owner, as well as all correspondence with the copyright owner and all documents related to seeking permission.

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  • Literary, dramatic and artistic works

    • Contact the publisher. Most publishers will have a website which will include information about requesting permission.
    • If the publisher cannot give permission, they may be able to direct you to the copyright owner. The Copyright Agency Limited may be able to provide contact details for a copyright owner.
    • If the author owns copyright in the work, they can give permission. Try searching Google to locate contact details for the author.
    • For artistic works, contact Viscopy - the collecting society for visual artists - they may be able to give permission or assist in locating the copyright owner.
    • For artistic works held in galleries or museums, contact the museum or gallery as they may be able to give permission or assist in locating the copyright owner.
    • For additional information about seeking permission browse the information sheets available on the Australian Copyright Council website.
  • Musical works and sound recordings

    • In the first instance contact APRA/AMCOS as they are often able to give permission on the copyright owner's behalf. If they are not able to they may be able to provide contact details for a copyright owner.
    • PPCA licenses recorded music and music videos for public performance, communication or broadcast.
    • Try searching Google for a webpage or contact details of a copyright owner.
    • In order to copy a sound recording, you may need to obtain separate permissions as the following different copyrights subsist in it:
      • Audio Recording
        Copyright in the recording usually belongs to the relevant record company. ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) may be able to provide a licence on behalf of the copyright owner of the audio recording.
      • Musical Work (Written Composition)
        Copyright in the musical composition usually belongs to the composer or arranger or the music publisher. APRA/AMCOS may be able to provide a licence on behalf of the copyright owner of the musical work.
      • Literary Work (Lyrics)
        Copyright in the lyrics usually belongs to the songwriter or the music publisher. APRA/AMCOS may be able to provide a licence on behalf of the copyright owner of the lyrics.
  • Films and TV broadcasts

    • Contact the film production company. If they are not able to give permission, they may be able to provide contact details for the copyright owner.
    • ScreenRights may be able to provide contact details for a copyright owner or a film production company.
    • Try searching for a webpage or contact details of a copyright owner or a film production company.
  • Websites

    Many websites have terms and conditions which outline how you can use the material on the site. These are often linked to at the bottom of the page under a terms of use, copyright, or legal link.

    Check the website for a contact person.

  • Government publications

    Many government publications are now released under a Creative Commons licence. In the first instance you should look at the publication for the licence details, otherwise visit the relevant department website for copyright information. If the material is not released under a Creative Commons licence or your proposed use is not covered by the licence terms then you should contact the relevant department for permission.

    The University has permission to use certain Commonwealth and State legislation and judgments for its non-commercial teaching and educational purposes. Visit the Using legislation and judgments page for more details.

  • Unpublished material

    Try searching for a webpage or contact details of a copyright owner. If the author created the material as part of their employment, the employer may be the copyright owner.

  • Orphaned works

    When the copyright owner of a work cannot be identified or located, the material is called an orphaned work. Orphaned works are still subject to copyright and cannot be used without permission. Contact the Copyright Coordinator to discuss.