Copyright protection automatically arises from the time the work is created and continues to operate for 70 years after the death of the creator. Material that can be protected by copyright is protected as soon as it is created. This provides the Copyright owner with exclusive rights over the material they have created/produced..


There is no system of registration for copyright as there is for trade marks or patents. The copyright symbol (C) is only a reminder that the work is protected and it is not a requirement to create copyright protection. Copyright protection is also free and there are no fees to pay.


In Australia, the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) applies providing a single system of copyright protection throughout Australia. The material covered by copyright includes: artistic works, musical works, dramatic works, sound recordings, literary works, computer programs, broadcasts, and cinematographic films. Copyright does not protect ideas, it only protects the material manifestation of the idea. Others are able to use the same idea to create their own copyright protected material.


Owners of works have exclusive rights to reproduce the works, for example photograph, film, record, photocopy, and communicate the works to the public by broadcasting, internet and the like. Owners of copyright in literary, dramatic and musical works also have the right to perform the work in public and make an adaptation of the work.



  • The first creator of the copyright material is the original owner;
  • The employer is the owner of copyright material where the employee creates it as part of their employment;
  • Freelance creators normally own their own work;
  • Producers and financiers own rights to films they make; and
  • Financiers own sound recordings although performers may have a share.


Copyright material or parts thereof can be licensed or sold (assigned). Assignments and exclusive licenses must be in writing, however it is best to have all agreements in writing. Licenses may be provided geographically, that is by country or area. Accordingly there are some circumstances where copyright owners can control the importation of copies of material over which they have ownership of in Australia irrespective of it being legally produced in another country.


Should you have any queries in relation to Copyright, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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