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Copyright: Copyright FAQs

Copyright Help Guide


Frequently asked questions

Copyright gives the creator or owner the legal right to take action if someone else uses their material without permission. Agreements about copyright should be in writing and it is a good idea to get legal advice before signing any document dealing with copyright.  Material is automatically protected by copyright, except ideas, techniques, names or slogans. If you are concerned that you may need to prove copyright you should keep drafts, dated records or recordings at different stages of development. Material that meets requirements of copyright is protected with or without the copyright noticed attached.

If you are an employee (rather than a freelancer or independent contractor) and it was part of your duties to create the work, your employer will own copyright to the work, unless you and your employer had a different agreement. If you are employed by a newspaper or magazine publisher, the position may be different.

As the author of the work you will own copyright in it, unless you assigned copyright to the commissioning company (an assignment must be in writing and signed by you to be legally effective). The company will generally have the right to use the work for the purpose for which it was commissioned.

The government may own copyright , unless you have an agreement that you will own copyright. You may need advice about whether the agency is part of the Commonwealth, or a State or Territory government. You may also need advice about whether your work is, or will be, made or published under the direction or control of the Commonwealth, or a State or Territory government.

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