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Copyright at UNSW

Copyright for teaching

Third party copyright material can be used at UNSW for educational purposes either by exceptions within the Copyright Act, or by statutory and commercial licences held by UNSW. The type of material and how it will be used will determine how much you can use and what conditions apply.

Moral rights and attribution apply. Attribute or cite third party copyright material by providing enough information to identify the creator and the work e.g. author, title, publication year, source.

Find out how to manage copyright for course materials and the limits and conditions that apply to:

The different exceptions and licences that apply, include:

This exception under the Copyright Act allows the University to perform copyright materials in the course of giving educational instruction provided that:
  • it is shown in class
  • it is performed by an academic in the course of providing not for profit educational instruction or by a student who being taught in that class
  • the audience is limited to students enrolled in the class or directly connected with the University
Performance of copyright materials in the class include:
  • screening films
  • playing sound recordings
  • reading literary works such as poems
  • performing a dramatic work (play) or live music (musical work)
The educational statutory licence under section 113P of the Copyright Act allows educational institutions to copy and communicate works and broadcasts for educational purposes. In order to rely on the statutory licence, the University is a signatory to a statutory agreement with the following declared collecting societies:
  • Copyright Agency for the copying and communication of text and graphic copyright material
  • Screenrights for the copying and communication of TV and radio broadcasts, including free to air TV and Pay TV (Foxtel) that is broadcasted in Australia
UNSW pays an annual fee to these collecting societies for the right to use copyright material for teaching purposes, provided limits are observed and the following conditions are met:
  • all copying and communication of text, artistic works and broadcasts are done for the educational purposes of the University
  • access is restricted to UNSW staff and students only
  • a copyright warning notice is used for all communication of electronic copies of text and images (21KB PDF) and broadcasts (21KB PDF)
  • the copying is within the agreed limits
If copyright materials are copied and communicated for other purposes (e.g. made available to the public), then the licence does not apply.
This exception under the Copyright Act allows for copying and communication of copyright material in an exam or in an answer to an exam question. This applies to exams provided both in print or online. There are no restrictions on the type of material or how much of a material can be copied. A short extract or the whole material can be used.
The flexible dealing exception allows educational institutions to use copyright materials in certain circumstances provided that no other exception applies and the proposed use meets the following criteria. For guidance, contact your Outreach Librarian.
  • the use is for the purpose of giving educational instruction
    • includes teaching in a classroom and compiling resources for students or doing something for the purpose of teaching
  • the use is non-commercial
    • you cannot make a profit or gain a commercial advantage from your use. Cost recovery is permissible.
  • the use does not conflict with the normal exploitation of the copyright material
    • your use would not be satisfied if you can obtain a licence for the material you are copying, in the format that is required at a reasonable cost and terms; or if your use conflicts with the way the copyright owner normally makes money from their work
  • the use does not unreasonably prejudice the copyright owner
    • not expose the work to piracy (i.e. restricting access) or interfere with the quality of the work
  • the use is a special case
    • you have copied only what you need for educational instruction.and your use must be narrow in a qualitative and quantitative sense.
The Copyright Act includes two free exceptions that educational organisations to use copyright material to assist people with disabilities:
UNSW has entered into a voluntary licence with APRA AMCOS, ARIA and PPCA (music collective societies) to allow staff and students to copy, communicate and perform musical works and sound recordings for educational purposes and University events. For more information, see Music and sound recordings.
UNSW also subscribes to a large, diverse collection of electronic resources, such as databases, e-books and e-journals. Limits and conditions for these electronic resources are governed by the license agreement for each platform.
  • You can provide access using a hyperlink to the content
  • You can add the materials to a Leganto reading list
  • You can read the terms and conditions for use e.g. some publishers and platforms allow PDFs to be downloaded and then uploaded to a learning management system like Moodle. Check the licence terms prior to uploading PDFs into Moodle. If you are unsure, contact your Outreach Librarian
  • Actions that are usually prohibited include sharing passwords, commercial use, and copying, reproducing or distributing subscribed resources in any format to non-UNSW staff and students
Commercial licence terms negate the terms and conditions set out in the educational statutory licence.

Need help?

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

Quick guides


Download a quick guide to copyright and teaching at UNSW (576KB PDF).

Copyright Warning Notice

The Copyright Warning Notice that is used for Statutory Licence copying and communication is available for text and images (21KB PDF) and broadcasts (21KB PDF).

Copyright events

Copyright for teaching sessions run throughout the year.