Copyright licensing Copyright licensing

Rules of Copyright

The Copyright Act

Put simply The Copyright Act 1994 is a set of guidelines that explains how published content can and can not be used.

The general rule is: if it is published, it is copyright protected.

The Copyright Act kicks in the moment you wish to copy, scan, save or share published material. As an honest, law abiding citizen, the important thing to know is how the law applies to you.

Copyright Notice

This is a good place to start. The notice is often on the inside front cover (hardcopies) or in the terms and conditions (if material is sourced online). If you wish to copy, save or share outside of what is permitted on the notice, or by law, you need to ask permission first.

General Copying – Printed Material

You can copy without permission from an original if it is for:

  • Research
  • Private study
  • Criticism or review
  • Reporting current events

The amount copied should be deemed 'fair'. For example it might be fair for an individual to copy an entire poem or article if it is relevant to their study topic. On the other hand, it is unlikely to be fair to copy an entire book if only a section relates to the study.

Education – Printed Material

Teachers are permitted to copy the following from an original hardcopy:

  • A single copy (for lesson planning purposes)
  • Multiple copies to up to 3% or 3 pages (whichever is greater)

The section copied must not give away significant information ie chapter summaries.



The Copyright Council website has useful information sheets on using copyright material available for download here.

If you have a specific copyright question – Talk to Us.