How Copyright Works


As soon as you create an original work, you automatically get copyright protection. There is no registration procedure in Australia and no other formalities. If your work is original, you get to own copyright.

You don’t even have to put a copyright notice on your work, although this may help you in some other countries.

Your work doesn’t have to be a great work of art. A shopping list scribbled on the back of an envelope and a finger painting by a kindergarten kid both qualify for copyright protection.

Copyright in Australia lasts for the lifetime of the author plus 70 calendar years. As the result of international agreements, Australian authors also automatically get copyright protection in most other countries as well, although the length of protection may vary.


Copyright in a work gives the owner the right to stop others reproducing the work in a material form, publishing the work, performing the work in public, communicating the work to the public, or making an adaptation of the work.

Copyright does not protect ideas or information; it only protects the original form of expression of the ideas or information.

Copyright in a work is normally owned by the author of the work, but it can be owned by the author’s employer or by someone else to whom the author has transferred ownership.

Copyright is a form of property. You can sell or give it to someone else, and you can license it to others. If you want to use someone else’s copyright work, you need to obtain a licence from them.