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e-Learning News: Student use of Copyright material (Issue 9 2017)

Written on the 22 June 2017

Copyright is a set of rights assigned to an owner of a piece of work that could be literary, artistic, musical, film, computing, that prohibits a person from reproducing the work. Under the Copyright Act, students have exemptions to using copyright material called 'fair dealing'.  Fair dealing can is used for learning that is for:

  • Research or study
  • Criticism or review
  • Parody and satire
  • Reporting the news.

The amount of copyright material that can be reproduced can only be a portion of the work. A full reproduction of any copyright material is in breach of the Copyright Act. 

There are materials that students can reproduce in their entirety. These works are under a separate licence called Creative Commons. Creative Commons allows students to not only reproduce the whole work but, in some situations, also modify the original work. 

Finding Creative Commons work
If you are looking for work under a creative commons licence then there are a couple of different options you could use.

  1. Creative Commons databases:
    www.creativecommons.org.au is a website that contains information about creative commons and how to use them. There is also a search bar that you can use to search for images, music, media and video that are under a creative commons licence.
  2. Using the Google search filter for images:
    When searching for images in Google you can filter the pictures according the rights assigned to each picture. To do this you type in the image you want to search for and then click on the tools option. Click on the usage rights option and set to labelled for reuse with modification to be able to use and modify the image.

What if you can't tell if a material is under a Creative Commons licence? 
If you can't determine the rights of any material then the rule is to treat it like a copyright material and only use a fair portion of the work.  Just because you can't find the rights doesn't mean that there isn't any.

Acknowledging the author of the material
When using copyright material it is the accepted practice to acknowledge the author of the work.  This allows readers to firstly acknowledge that the material is not your own but also the authenticity of the author of the work.  General citations of copyright material include the author's name, the title of the work, where the work came from (URL), and in some cases when you accessed the work.

Osborne, A (2013) Student working on Assignment, https://www.flickr.com/photos/ozbornea/8416811863

Sharing Copyright Material
Obtaining copyright material such as music, games and videos by illegally downloading or sharing is in breach of copyright.  Any material that has been illegally obtained cannot, under the Acceptable Use of Information and Communication Technology Policy, be uploaded on the student's Google drive.

More Information
For more information regarding copyright, the Smartcopying website is a great place to start if you are looking for information regarding copyright issues and creative commons licences.

Damien Henry
Acting e-Learning Coordinator



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