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Copyright guide

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

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About this guide

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


Contact the Copyright Service, email:

Copyright Capability program (Workday)

copyright symbolLearn how to apply copyright best practice in teaching

The Copyright Capability program is now available in Workday!

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 the Copyright Capability program (Workday).


"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. It protects 'the form or way an idea or information is expressed, not the idea or information itself'

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)