Cheat Sheet for Beginner Law

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Enforced under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth)

1. Does copyright exist?

Is it still valid?

2.1 Is there a work?

* Literary, Dramatic, Musical, Artistic.

Does the work contain layers?

2.2 Has the work been expressed; recorded in material form?

2.3 Is the work original?

* Result of skill, labour or effort.

2.4 Is there a connection to Australia- citizen or resident is adequate.

2. Has the Copyright been infringed?

3.5 Who is the Owner?

Author is the first owner- S35(2)- ownership can be modified by contract

Exceptions - Work produced in the course of employment (S35(6))

- Journalists- owners of the copyright only if they reproduce the work in a book or in the form of a hard copy. (S35(4))

- Commissioned works (S35(5)

Under employment- employer owns copyright.

Contract of Service- was the work made by the author in pursuance of the terms of the contract?

Freelance- Contract for service- you own copyright, unless contract says otherwise.

Except: photograph of a ‘private or domestic purpose’, paints or draws a portrait or makes engraving, the commissioning party owns copyright.

NB- author may stop the commissioner from using the photo etc for any other purpose.

3.6 Assessing Infringement

Direct Infringement- Reproduce the work in material form:

Is there objective similarity? Second work must closely resemble first- side by side visual; reading; listening

Is there causal connection? Between the first work and infringing work

Is the part taken substantial?


* Quality rather than quantity

* ‘Essentially the heart’ or ‘essential part’ of the work

Authorisation of Infringement

Given permission to infringe- Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd v Cooper (2005)


Fair Dealing (statutory)

Make fair dealing with copyright materiel for one of the following:

* Research or study

* Criticism or review- making judgments