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Commercial activities

In addition to its teaching and learning activities, ECU conducts a number of commercial, marketing and promotional activities which are not protected by the statutory exemptions under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth).

Can I rely on exemptions for educational purposes under the Copyright Act?

Not if you conduct commercial, marketing or promotional activities. The Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) contains a number of exceptions to copyright for the educational purposes of universities or other educational institutions. This means the works must be used in relation to a "particular course of instruction provided by the institution".

If the works aren’t used in relation to a course of instruction, but for the general commercial purposes of ECU, this would not be an "educational purpose" under the Act.

Where no statutory exemption applies, ECU must approach the copyright owner for permission to use the works.

Copyright permission relating to photography

Are you planning to take someone's photograph or to publish that photo or report what the subject of the photograph says in an ECU publication?

If so, none of these scenarios are protected by copyright.

Copyright protects the expression of ideas in a material form in which copyright subsists. A person does not have copyright in their own image. If that image is captured by someone else in a  photograph, copyright in the photograph subsists in the photographer or their employer.

However, you should seek permission for the photograph for other reasons and obtain a talent release form.

Likewise, a person does not have copyright in the words they speak. The words must have been expressed in a material form (such as a literary work) in order for copyright protection to apply.

What internet materials can I use for ECU commercial activities?

This depends on the materials. Some internet sites allow material hosted by the site to be used without charge, subject to certain conditions. Be careful to ensure that these sites permit commercial use.

Other sites make materials available on the basis of a licence agreement, e.g. software applications or image libraries. Again, read the terms and conditions carefully to confirm that the planned use of the materials is permitted under the licence.

If the materials aren’t subject to any licence agreement then permission should be sought from the copyright owner.

How do I identify the copyright owner?

The copyright owner is usually the creator (author) or the publisher of the work. However, creators can assign copyright to another party, for example a publisher.

The best way to identify the copyright owner is to look for the copyright symbol (C) and a name and date. If this is not apparent then contact the relevant producer, publisher, distributor, webmaster, etc. who should be in a position to identify the  copyright owner.

How do I request copyright permission?

There is no prescribed form of words for requesting copyright permission from a copyright owner. The request should be in writing (email is fine) and should set out:

  • your name, title and contact details;
  • that you are acting on behalf of Edith Cowan University;
  • the specific copyright work (or part thereof) for which you are seeking permission;
  • the proposed use for which you seek permission, e.g. marketing or promotional activities; and
  • that you seek the express written permission of the copyright owner to the proposed use.

Example email

Dear (name) / To whom it may concern

I write on behalf of the Corporate Marketing Office at Edith Cowan University (ECU).

ECU understands that you are the owner of copyright in the work (name of work). ECU would like to use the work for marketing and promotional activities (specifically, in its 20XX student prospectuses) and seeks your express written permission for this proposed use.

Could you please confirm that you are the owner and grant this permission by reply email? I would be pleased to answer any questions you might have about the proposed use.

Yours sincerely,
Jane Doe
Corporate Marketing Office
Edith Cowan University
Telephone: (61 8) 6304 XXXX


ECU Copyright Officer

General Counsel
Jo Quinn
Office of Legal Services
Telephone: (61 8) 6304 2016

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