This page contains information for users of copyright material in Australia. You can find more detailed information in the short guide to copyright.

How do I get copyright permission?

You will need to contact the copyright owner to get copyright permission. For common uses of copyright material, you can contact collecting societies instead to seek a licence.

Written permission should be sought to use copyright material, to avoid relying on oral statements.

How can collecting societies help with permission?

Copyright collecting societies can provide you with permission for certain uses of copyright materials in their collection.
Collecting societies are authorised to collect license fees for uses of the copyright materials, which they redistribute to copyright owners.

The main collecting societies in Australia are:

When am I covered by an exception?

The Copyright Act provides exceptions which enable some access to copyright material. The most important exceptions permit'fair dealings' with copyright material for certain purposes:

  • research or study
  • criticism or review
  • reporting of news
  • giving of professional advice by a lawyer or a patent or trade mark attorney
  • parody and satire
  • making accessible format copies by, or on behalf of, a person with a disability

When is copyright material no longer protected?

Generally copyright lasts for 70 years for works after the death of the author, 70 years from publication for sound recordings and films after being made public, and 50 years for television and radio broadcasts after being broadcast.

Copyright duration can differ depending on the type of copyright material and if it has been made public.

When copyright expires, the material falls into the ‘public domain’ and may be freely used.

For information on the duration for a specific type of material, please see our Duration of Copyright table.

How do I get access to Australian Government copyright material?

If you want to use Australian Government copyright material it may be available under a Creative Commons licence. Australian Government agencies are required to release copyrighted public sector information under Creative Commons licences, or other open content licences, wherever possible. Further guidance on using Creative Commons and other licences is available from the Creative Commons website.

For other material, you may need to get permission from the agency that published it.