We are responsible for managing the Copyright Act 1968 and the Circuit Layouts Act 1989. We also work on copyright policy in Australia, and international copyright issues.

We are also the lead agency for whole-of-government issues on the management of IP.

Copyright provides legal protection for people who express ideas and information in certain forms. The most common forms are writing, visual images, music and moving images.

Copyright protection is free and automatic in Australia. There is no registration system.

Some websites offer copyright protection or to "register" copyright for a fee. These websites have no authority to guarantee copyright protection.

'Intellectual property' (IP) is a phrase used to describe the rights creators use to protect their work. The following types of work contain IP: inventions, literary and artistic works, computer programs, databases, broadcasts, films, sound recordings, plant varieties, trademarks and designs.

More information about copyright can be found in our Short Guide to Copyright.

Copyright Policy

Duration of copyright


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From 1 January 2019, new standard terms of copyright protection will apply to original published and unpublished works, sound recordings and cinematograph films.

Government use of copyright material


The Copyright Act 1968 sets out a government use statutory licence. Under this licence, the Australian Government is allowed to use whatever copyright material it needs, for official purposes

Marrakesh Treaty for people with print disability


Australia was among the first 20 countries to join the Marrakesh Treaty, which came into force on 30 September 2016. The Treaty is an international agreement that will help an estimated 285 million people worldwide have greater access to books published in accessible formats such as large print, braille or audio.

What's new

Copyright Copyright
We are consulting on the exposure draft of new copyright regulations to make sure they are fit for purpose in the digital...
Copyright Copyright
Government releases its Response to the Productivity Commission’s Report on Intellectual Property Arrangements in Australia.
Copyright Copyright
Bill to improve access to copyright material for disability, education, library and archive sectors passed by Parliament.
Copyright Copyright
The Australian Government announced it will undertake further consultation with stakeholders on the extension of the safe...
Marrakesh Treaty Options for Implementation

Marrakesh Treaty Options for Implementation

This treaty will give people who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled greater access to works published in accessible formats, such as print, braille and audio.

Issues, reforms and reviews

Online copyright infringement

The Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Act 2015 allows copyright owners to apply to the Federal Court to order internet service providers to block access to particular overseas websites which breach copyright.

Further consultation on copyright safe harbour legislation

The Australian Government announced it would undertake further consultation with stakeholders on the extension of the safe harbour provisions in the Copyright Act 1968. View more information and Safeharbourconsultation [at] communications.gov.au (subject: Safeharbour%20Consultation) (submit your views here)

Collecting Societies

The aim of Copyright collecting societies is to ensure that Australians are rewarded for their creativity. Collecting societies are non-governmental groups which manage the rights of copyright owners.

Collecting societies negotiate licences with individuals and Government, and receive payments, which they pass onto copyright owners.

The main collecting societies in Australia are:


The Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) and the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA) are not-for-profit organisations which collect payments for people who create sounds.

We do not manage a whole-of-government agreement with these organisations, but below, you can access an example of an individual government agency agreement with APRA. This agreement can be used as a model for other agencies that use lyrics or publically perform musical works:

  • APRA AGD model agreement
  • APRA AGD information sheet

Copies of these documents can be obtained by copyright [at] communications.gov.au (subject: APRA%20AGD%20model%20agreement%20and%20information%20sheet) (contacting us)

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IP Australia

IP Australia has information on IP issues such as inventions and patents, trademarks, plant breeder’s rights, and original designs.