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Copyright guide

This is a companion guide to the RMIT Copyright webpages for staff and students.

Upcoming Teaching Spotlight webinars

A collection of computer and laptop screens showing online meetings.

We run regular online presentations by guest speakers on different aspects of teaching. Recordings of past webinars are also available.

RMIT's Open Scholarship Policy - What It Means For You as an Educator

Join us for a session introducing RMIT’s Open Scholarship Policy as we discuss what it means for you as an educator. 

Delve into the core aspects of open education and gain a comprehensive understanding of the university's enterprise-wide policy.  

This session aims to heighten awareness and illuminate the crucial role educators play in advancing open scholarship. Explore the policy's implications for your work and discover how you can actively contribute to the university's commitment to open educational practices.  

Date & Time:  March 20, 2.30pm to 3.30pm

Image by Alexandra_Koch from Pixabay

About this guide

This is a companion guide to the RMIT Copyright webpages for staff and students.


Contact the Copyright Service via email:

Copyright Capability program (Workday)

Copyright symbol

Learn how to apply copyright best practice in teaching

Are you using library resources, materials from the web, video, images and other copyright works in your online teaching? Learn about copyright and applying best practice to your teaching activities and discover useful resources in our Copyright Capability program in Workday.

Image attribution: "Copyright symbol wallpaper" by Stuart Rankin is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Video: Copyright in Canvas

Copyright in Canvas (4 mins), RMIT University Library, Microsoft Stream (RMIT login required)

What is copyright and how it works

What is copyright?

Copyright is a form of intellectual property. Copyright protects the form or way an idea or information is expressed, not the idea or information itself (Department of Communication and the Arts, 2016, p.3).

What does copyright protect?


The Copyright Act protects original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works. It includes things like charts, diagrams, figures, tables, visual images, journal articles and books.

And subject-matter other than works

The Copyright Act also protects sound recordings, films (which include pre-recorded television programs and videos), radio and television broadcasts and published editions of works.
In Australia, the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth), provides an exclusive right for a period of time to creators, such as artists, authors, designers and photographers, or the assignee to reproduce, publish, communicate or perform the original work.

How long does copyright last?

Generally, the duration of copyright is for the life of the author or creator plus 70 years. 
For films made after 1969,  it is generally 70 years from the end of the year of first publication.

Adapted from "Short Guide to Copyright" by Department of Communication and the Arts is licensed under CC BY 4.0

How copyright works (1:38 mins) by John Gibbs (YouTube)