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For staff and researchers

Statutory licences

As an 'educational institution' ECU is able to copy and communicate certain copyright material without the permission of the copyright holder where the use is covered by a statutory licence under the Copyright Act. The two statutory licences available to ECU are:

  • The Part VA licence - for broadcasting off air recordings; and
  • The Part VB licence - for broadcasting literary works (excluding computer programs) and other printed material.

Copying or communication under a statutory licence must be for the educational purposes of ECU students in Australia enrolled in award - based courses.

Copying or communication cannot be done for profit and must be within the limits set by the Copyright Act.

Can I upload materials to Blackboard without infringing copyright?

It depends on the type of material you wish to upload upload and whether you are required to upload that material to the E-Reserve in conjunction with ECU’s Copyright E-Reserve policy (policy AD051). Here are some examples.

Books and journal articles

There are restrictions on the amount of material that may be made available online from a single source. For example, only one chapter or 10% (whichever is the greater) of a book may be made available at a single point in time across the entire University.

Similarly, only one article from a single issue may be made available at any one point in time (unless the two articles are on the same subject matter). Again, this applies across the entire University.

ECU’s Copyright E-Reserve policy (policy AD051) requires that all third party text based copyright material to be communicated online must be placed in the E-reserve system. It should not be directly uploaded to Blackboard.

We recommend that you speak to the ECU Librarian to manage the process for you.

Television and radio broadcasts

Under ECU’s Screenrights licence, recordings of off-air television and radio broadcasts may be made available to students via Blackboard. The Part VA Copyright Warning notice must be included with any material.


Some commercial music may be posted online under ECU’s tertiary music licence. This may be streamed only; it can’t be made available for download.

Commercially available films

These films cannot be uploaded to Blackboard without the written permission of all copyright owners.

Where ECU has a licence or permission to make information available online, it must ensure that they are uploaded only for the educational purposes of enrolled ECU students.

The works:

  • must only be communicated to enrolled students of ECU via a login/password; and
  • must be for a course of educational instruction; works wholly-unrelated to an ECU course must not be communicated.

In addition, any further requirements of the applicable statutory licence must be adhered to.

Please contact the ECU Copyright Officer at the Office of Legal Services for further information about these additional requirements.

Can I stream YouTube clips to students as part of their course?

The Office of Legal Services recommends against this practice. Clips uploaded to YouTube (known as 'User Submissions') are often uploaded without the permission of the copyright owner, and ECU cannot be confident that the clips it streams to students (or directs them to view outside the classroom) do not infringe copyright.

In addition, streaming YouTube clips to students in class might breach the YouTube Terms of Service.

Accordingly, we recommend that teaching staff obtain video content for teaching purposes by alternative means.

Can I play CDs or DVDs to students in class?

Yes. Sound recordings (CDs) or cinematograph films (DVDs) may be played to students in the course of giving educational instruction, provided that the audience is:

  • limited to those taking part in the instruction, i.e. enrolled students; or
  • directly connected with the place where the instruction is given, i.e. teaching staff, general staff and ECU contractors.

Hiring conditions

If the CD or DVD is hired it may be subject to a hire condition that it be for "personal or domestic use" only. In this case, the CD or DVD should not be played in class. Although it might be lawful under copyright law, it would also be a breach of ECU's contract with the relevant video library or other hirer.

Can I play TV or radio programs I’ve recorded?

Yes. Under ECU's Part VA Screenrights licence, staff may record and reproduce television and radio broadcast content for educational purposes. This includes free-to-air and pay television.

Under the same licence, staff may download and distribute for educational purposes podcasts or vodcasts made available by Australian broadcasters. These materials may be played to students in a classroom setting or made available via Blackboard.

What if the Copyright Act doesn't grant an exception for my intended use?

The Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) contains a number of statutory exceptions to copyright infringement. There are certain uses which don’t amount to an infringement of copyright even though you don’t have the permission of the copyright owner.

If your intended use is not covered by one of these statutory exemptions, you may only use copyright-protected materials with the express permission of the copyright owner.

To identify and contact the copyright owner follow these steps:

Step 1: If the owner is not readily obvious, contact the publisher or distributor of the work. In the case of works online, contact the webmaster.

Step 2: Once you have identified the copyright owner, send them a written request (email is fine) outlining your proposed use. Make it clear that the use will be restricted to educational instruction of ECU students and will not be for any other use such as commercial activities.

Step 3: If the copyright owner grants permission, ensure you have written evidence of that permission, such as a letter or an email.

Copyright and research

ECU research activity creates new copyright works and uses the copyright works of others.

If you're conducting research you need to be aware of ECU policies relating to research activity and how to ensure the legal rights of ECU are protected.

Third-party content may generally be dealt with by researchers under the 'fair dealing' provisions of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). These provisions permit the copying of copyright-protected work for the purposes of research or study, provided the copying is 'fair'.

However, the fair dealing provisions of the Copyright Act don’t extend to the publication or broad dissemination of third-party copyright content. Therefore, express written third-party copyright permission should be sought before publishing any research.

Intellectual property before and after research

Most ECU research is funded by grants from external bodies, e.g. the Australian Research Council and the National Health and Medical Research Council. These grants are administered via a funding agreement which sets out the rights and obligations of the parties, including the parties' respective rights regarding intellectual property (IP), including copyright.

Generally, each party to the agreement will retain ownership of the IP it contributes to the research (Background IP) but will grant a licence to the other party or parties to use that Background IP for research purposes.

Rights to the new IP that arises out of the research (Project IP) can be split between the parties in equal portions; however, it is much simpler for the Project IP to vest in one particular party on the condition that they grant a perpetual, royalty-free licence to all other parties for the use of the Project IP.

For specific legal advice about research IP, please contact the Office of Legal Services.

Moral rights

Under the moral rights provisions of the Copyright Act, an author has the right to be identified as such if any attributable acts are done in respect of their work. This includes reproducing, publishing, performing or exhibiting the work, or communicating it to the public.

Third-party content used in research should always be properly attributed in accordance with all relevant citation standards to ensure that the moral rights of authors are not infringed.


ECU Copyright Officer

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

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