AusGOAL is primarily a copyright management framework.  An understanding of copyright and its legal context is essential to using AusGOAL, so here are some key points:

Copyright Basics

  • Copyright is one of a suite of intellectual property (IP) rights recognised under Australian law (and globally).  Examples of other intellectual property rights include trademarks and patents, etc.
  • Copyright is regulated under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth)
  • Copyright subsists in original literary works (which may include data and databases), artistic works (paintings, photographs etc), musical works, dramatic works; and in subject matter other than works, namely films and sound recordings and broadcasts.
  • Generally, copyright does not protect mere facts.
  • Copyright protects the expression of an idea, rather than the idea itself
  • Copyright vests immediately upon creation of a work, and expires 70 years after the death of the author.
  • Registration to protect a copyrighted work is not applicable in Australia.  There is no legal requirement to place a © symbol on a work, although it may alert a user that the work is subject to copyright.
  • Copyright provides an exclusive right to the copyright holder to reproduce, publish, adapt, communicate or perform a work. In the absence of permission from the copyright holder, you cannot exercise any of these rights unless your actions:
    • do not affect a substantial (measured both qualitatively and quantitatively) portion of the work; or
    • fall within one of the statutory exemptions (eg. fair dealing) under the Copyright Act

Crown Copyright

  • Crown copyright is a species of copyright that may only be held by the Crown.
  • The term "Crown" refers to the Commonwealth of Australia, each of the States and Territories (including Norfolk Island and other external Territories). It does not include local government.
  • Crown copyright may cover the works produced by statutory authorities or other government owned organisations.  However, an examination of the Act establishing an authority or organisation will be necessary to confirm this.  If you work for this type of organisation, you may wish to check its enabling legislation or obtain legal advice.
  • The Crown is vested with certain rights and privileges under the Copyright Act that extend beyond the rights of other authors. 
  • Crown copyright expires 50 years from the date of publication.

Obtaining Permission from a Copyright Holder

You are not permitted to exercise any of the copyright holders rights unless your actions fall within an exception in the Copyright Act. Copyright holders usually assert their copyright by notification.  eg.  " © Copyright.  All Rights Reserved".  However, copyright holders may provide permissions to others to exercise their rights.  These permissions are usually expressed in the form of a licence or assignment.  An assignment exists where copyright is transferred from one party (the copyright holder) to another.  Alternatively, a licence merely extends a permission to someone else to exercise the copyrights.  

Moral Rights

Part 9 of the Copyright Act establishes moral rights for authors and performers. Moral rights in relation to an author include:

  • A right of attribution of authorship;
  • right not to have authorship falsely attributed; or
  • A right of integrity of authorship (doing anything to the work that would be prejudicial to the authors reputation)

Moral rights:

  • Generally subsist in a work for the same period as copyright.  
  • Are not economic rights, and as such, cannot be transferred or remunerated as is the case with copyright.  
  • Vest with authors and may not be disposed of or sold.  However, authors may consent to waive their moral rights.