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Copyright: Copyright for Students

Copyright Help Guide


Meaning of research or study

Research is defined as:

Diligent and systematic enquiry or investigation into a subject in order to discover facts or principles.

Study is defined as:

1. application of the mind to the aquisition of knowledge, as by reading, investigation or reflection.

2. the cultivation of a particular branch of learning, science, or art.

3. a particular course of effort to aquire knowledge.

4. a thorough examination and analysis of a particular subject.

More information from the Australian Copyright Council website:

Research or Study

DVD or video footage

You may copy a video or DVD for research or study provided it is fair use of the material.  You will need to consider how much of the item you want to copy and whether you can buy a copy of the DVD or video.
As a student you would be entitled for example to compile a collection of movie excerpts to show particular elements of film making, communication styles, clothing or any other use for research or study. You may also reproduce copyright material for genuine criticism or review. You must identify the work and the author or creator.


Plagiarism generally means taking and using another person’s ideas, writing or inventions as your own. Plagiarism is not an area of law and not all acts of plagiarism are necessarily infringements of copyright.   A writer or academic may breach ethical standards by presenting someone else’s ideas as their own, but not infringe copyright because the other person’s ideas have been expressed in their own way, unless Moral Rights have been infringed.

Moral Rights was introduced into the Copyright Act in 2000 and as a result, acknowledgement must be made to the author of the material, unless it is reasonable not to. Creators have the right to be attributed for their work, and not have their work treated in a derogatory manner. Your institution will expect you to cite authors and references used in the course of your study in a particular way.

Copying from websites

You should first check the website for any statements about copyright which apply to the material you want to copy – the copyright owner may expressly allow you to print and/or download material, possibly under stated conditions. Otherwise, you may print and/or save material to disk if it is for your research or study, and the copying falls under the fair use guidelines (10% of material or 1 chapter).

The special research exception is unlikely to apply if you are supplying copies (e.g. by email) to people unconnected with your research or study.