Q. What is copyright?

Copyright means you can't steal over peoples work and pass it off as your own.


What is copyright?

Essentially, the right to:

  • copy a work
  • adapt a work
  • make copies of a work available for distribution
  • broadcast a work
  • show, play or perform a work in public

What is covered under copyright law?

  • any original work that has been written down or recorded in any form (it doesn't need to have been published)
  • works copied using mobile technologies - including streamed materials, and material loaded onto an e-reader
  • copyright doesn't have to be registered - it automatically exists
  • thoughts and ideas aren't protected
  • copyright on works made during a course of employment by an employee generally belongs to the employer unless specifically agreed otherwise (see ARU's IP policy)

How long does copyright last?

  • generally, 70 years from the death of the author/creator (though bear in mind that these may be multiple)
  • sound recordings: 70 years after their creation, broadcast or release
  • typographic arrangements (including music scores): 25 years after creation
  • work published in a country other than the EU or US may be subject to a shorter period of copyright (50 years)


  • Last Updated Sep 20, 2019
  • Views 88
  • Answered By Rebecca Mackle

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