School of
Information Technology and Electrical Engineering

What is copyright?

Copyright is a type of personal property right that is founded on a person's creative work. It is designed to prevent the unauthorised use by others of a creative work. The Copyright Act 1968 gives exclusive rights to copyright owners (such as authors and publishers) as to how their material may be used. These rights include the right to copy, publish, broadcast and publicly perform the copyright material.

What is covered by the Copyright Act?

The Copyright Act protects original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works:

  • Literary Works - includes letters, articles, novels, poetry, song lyrics, timetables, databases and computer programs. Single words, slogans or title are not usually protected as literary works.
  • Artistic Works - includes paintings, photographs, sculptures, engravings, sketches, blueprints, drawings, plans, maps and buildings or models of buildings.
  • Subject-matter other than works - includes sound recordings, films, videos, radio and television broadcasts and published editions of works.
How much can be copied?

What amounts to fair dealing is a matter to be determined on the facts of each case.  In the case of copying for the purposes of research or study, the Copyright Act specifically provides that it is fair dealing to make a single copy of a journal article, or one chapter, or 10% of a book of ten or more pages (whichever is greater). This is known as the 'reasonable portion' test.

Further information about Copyright can be found at the UQ Library.