Copyright is an extremely important thing for content creators as it gives them incentive to create new work and also enables them to protect their work legally. Copyright in Australia is covered by the Copyright Act 1968 which sets out the rights that creators have with their work. There are many different things that copyright protects, these include:

  • Textural material
    • Journals, articles, books, lyrics, poems
  • Computer programs
  • Compilations
    • Collections of material
  • Artistic works
    • Paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs
  • Dramatic works
    • Screenplays, choreography
  • Musical works
    • The actual music itself
  • Cinematograph films
    • Images in film, sound in film
  • Sound recordings
    • Physical copy of the recording itself
  • Broadcasts
    • TV and radio
  • Published editions
However there are some things that copyright doesn’t protect. These include:
  • Ideas, concepts, styles, techniques and information
    • The physical written text of a concept or idea is protected under copyright, however the ideas may be repurposed without breaching copyright law
  • Names, titles, slogans
    • Names and titles are too small to place under copyright law as a lot of song names and project titles would consist of single words
  • People (face, images)
One thing to realise is that copyright protection is automatic, meaning that you don’t have to submit your work anywhere for it to be placed under copyright law, it is automatic from the time of creation. This means that whoever creates a piece of work is the automatic owner of the copyright, however there are still some different ways that someone could own the copyright. These could be:
  • Various people who contribute to a project could argue to have ownership to a portion of the copyright
  • Employees who create materials for a company, the copyright falls to the employer as they have commissioned the employee to create the work
  • Photographers usually own the copyright associated with the photos that they take however, if someone has commissioned a photographer to capture photos for private use, such as a wedding, the copyright falls to the person who commissioned the material
  • With films and sound recordings, the owner of the copyright is usually the person who paid for the material to be created however, there are some instances where a performer may own a part of the copyright

An owners right to the copyright for materials lasts for 70 years after their time of death. This means that after the 70 years has passed, the materials becomes free for others to use under Australian law. There are many organisations that also work with content creators to ensure that their copyright is being upheld and honoured. One of these organisations is APRA AMCOS. APRA AMCOS is a group who license organisations to play, perform, copy and record artists music and they distribute the royalties back to these artists.





AMCOS, A. (2017). What we do. [online] Available at: [Accessed 30 Nov. 2017]. (2017). An Introduction to Copyright in Australia. [online] Available at: [Accessed 30 Nov. 2017].

Jerry Seinfeld Yes GIF. (2017). Retrieved from


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