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Copyright at UNSW

Who owns copyright?

Copyright in material is generally owned by the creator of that material, it is automatic and does not require formal registration.

The most notable exception to this rule is the case of materials created by employees. If the material is created by an employee in the course of their employment, the employer will generally own the copyright in that material.

Copyright is a transferrable right. It can be bought, sold and transferred by contract. In academic publishing, copyright is often transferred from the creator to the publisher by contract, also referred to as a publisher agreement or author agreement. However, this can be negotiated, as copyright transfer is not essential for publication. For more information, see managing your copyright.

When two or more people make significant contributions to the creation of material, then all creators own the copyright in that material. Each creator will need to give permission when dealing with jointly owned materials.

Particular research funding agreements can also determine copyright ownership.

Who owns copyright in materials made by UNSW Staff
Copyright in materials created by UNSW staff is generally owned by UNSW if the materials were specifically commissioned or if the materials were created wholly or partially with UNSW resources.Ownership of copyright in materials created by staff is governed by the UNSW Intellectual Property Policy. The UNSW intellectual property policy covers research outputs as well as all other materials produced by UNSW academic and professional staff such as educational teaching materials.
Who owns copyright in materials made by UNSW Students
UNSW students generally own copyright in their materials, including those materials created for course credit or created to fulfil degree requirements. UNSW students own copyright in their research theses. There are some exceptions to these rules, and they can be found in the UNSW intellectual property policy.

Need help?

UNSW staff and students can contact for assistance with a copyright query or to arrange a copyright information session.