No Copyright?

What if copyright doesn't subsist in some of the material my organisation publishes?

Copyright doesn't subsist in everything thats published.  This may be because:

  • copyright has expired; or
  • copyright never subsisted in the material 

This is referred to as 'public domain' material.  The Copyright Act doesn't recognise public domain because, by definition, the term refers to material that is devoid of copyright.  Nevertheless, organisations publish a lot of material that lacks copyright protection, and they should apply an appropriate statement or marking to the material to indicate that status.  AusGOAL recommends the use of the Creative Commons Public Domain Mark.  However, if your organisation wishes to apply a specific disclaimer, you may wish to use the 'no known rights statement' as a template.  

Before applying these markings, your organisation should carefully consider whether copyright would subsist in the material in other countries.

Creative Commons - Public Domain Mark

Creative Commons Public Domain Mark

The benefit of using the Creative Commons Public Domain Mark (PDM) is that the PDM Chooser creates machine readable code underneath the human readable mark.  This permits search engines and other software to determine copyright status of the material being published.  For more information about the PDM, please visit the FAQ page. 

A No Known Rights Statement

Organisations can choose to apply a 'no known rights' statement to material that is devoid of all copyright or other intellectual property rights.  There is no prescribed format for these types of statements, but they should include content similar to the example below.  Organisations should also consider whether they need to make reference to the exclusion of emblems/coats of arms when drafting these statements.

"To the best of [organisation]'s knowledge:

· there is no copyright or other intellectual property rights in [identify 
material]in Australia; and

· it may be copied and otherwise re-used in Australia without copyright 
or other intellectual property right related restriction.

[The following is a disclaimer that is optional and may be excluded 
or replaced by an alternative disclaimer used by your organisation]
[[organisation] will not be liable to you, on any legal basis (including negligence), 
for any loss or damage you suffer through your use of this material, except in those
cases where the law does not allow us to exclude or limit our liability to you.]"