Copyright & Infringements
This document is set out as a guide for the better understanding of Copyright laws for our customers to prevent copyright infringement, and does not reflect our terms of service in any way. If you would like more information about or copyright stance, please see our Terms of Service (TOS) on our policies page.
If you wish to file for infringement against copyright content found on the GraniteNet Website or it’s sub-site Network – Please send a written request to GraniteNet at the address provided in our Privacy Statement.
What is Copyright?
Did you know that whenever you write a poem or story or even a paper for your Tafe Course, or a drawing or other artwork, you automatically own the copyright to it. Copyright is a form of protection given to the authors or creators of “original works of authorship,” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic and other intellectual works. What that means is that, as the author of the work, you alone have the right to do any of the following or to let others do any of the following:
- make copies of your work;
- distribute copies of your work;
- perform your work publicly (such as for plays, film, dances or music);
- display your work publicly (such as for artwork, or stills from audiovisual works, or any material used on the Internet or television); and
- make “derivative works” (including making modifications, adaptations or other new uses of a work, or translating the work to another media).
In general, it is illegal for anyone to do any of the things listed above with a work created by you without your permission, but there are some exceptions and limitations to your rights as a copyright holder. One major limitation is the doctrine of “Fair Use,” discussed below.
Why Should I Care About Copyright?
When you create something, aren’t you proud of your work when you spend a lot of time and energy creating it? How about that social studies report you finally finished, that poem for your Mom that made her smile, that cool logo you came up with for your soccer team, the great song you wrote for the school play, or even your journal that you don’t “have” to do but you enjoy it so much and it’s special to you? Well, all these are your creations and you’d probably be pretty upset if someone just copied any of them without your permission. That’s where copyright comes in. Copyright law gives you a set of rights that prevents other people from copying your work and doing other things with your work that you may not like.
Which Works Are Protected by Copyright?
Copyright protects “original works of authorship” that are Fixed in “a tangible form of expression.” The fixed form does not have to be directly perceptible so long as it can be communicated with the aid of a machine or other device. Copyrightable works fall into the following categories:
– literary works (which includes computer software);
– musical works, including any accompanying words;
– dramatic works, including any accompanying music ;
– pantomimes and choreographic works;
– pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works;
– motion pictures and other audiovisual works;
– sound recordings; and
– architectural works.
Which Works Are Not Protected by Copyright?
Not everything is protected by copyright law. The following are some example categories of things not protected:
- Ideas, procedures, methods, systems, processes, concepts, principles, discoveries, or devices, (but written or recorded descriptions, explanations, or illustrations of such things are protected copyright);
- Titles, names, short phrases, and slogans; mere listings of ingredients or contents (but some titles and words might be protected under trademark law if their use is associated with a particular product or service);
- Works that are not fixed in a tangible form of expression, such as an improvised speech or performance that is not written down or otherwise recorded;
- Works consisting entirely of information that is commonly available and contains no originality (for example, standard calendars, standard measures and rulers, lists or tables compiled from public documents or other common sources); and
Who Owns the Copyright in a Work?
The copyright in a work of authorship immediately becomes the property of the author who created it at the moment it is put into fixed form. No one but the author can claim copyright to the work, unless the author grants rights to others in a written agreement (such as to the author’s publisher or record company). Usually, you can tell who the author of a work is — the person who created it. But sometimes, it is not quite that easy.
- Works made for hire
Works made for hire (a work “made for hire” by an employee and certain kinds of commissioned works) are considered to be authored by the employer or the commissioning party. So if your boss asks you to write a report as part of your job, the company you work for gets all the copyright protection that would otherwise have been available to you.
- Two or more authors
When two or more people create a work together, each of them is an author: they are called “joint authors” and the work is called a “joint work.” Joint authors are co-owners of the copyright in the work, unless they agree otherwise. For instance is your class paints a big painting or mural together, each of the students who painted part of it is a joint author and a copyright owner.
What is Copyright Infringement?
Anyone who exploits any of the exclusive rights of copyright without the copyright owner’s permission commits copyright infringement. If a lawsuit is brought in a court, the infringer will have to pay the copyright owner the amount of money the infringer made from using the work or that the owner would have made if the infringement had not happened. If the copyright is registered with the U.S. Copyright Office, the infringer may also have to pay copyright owner what’s called statutory damages — an amount set by the judge that will usually be higher. In addition, an infringer may be found guilty on criminal charges and have to pay criminal penalties. Moreover, the infringer will also be stopped from making any further use of the work.
In order for a court to determine that a copyright in a work has been infringed upon it must find that: (1) the infringing work is “substantially similar” to the copyrighted work, and (2) the alleged infringer had access to the copyrighted work — meaning they actually saw it or heard it. There are no clear rules for deciding when “substantial similarity” exists between two works. Courts look for similarities in appearance, sound, words, format, layout, sequence, and other elements of the works.
Directly copying a digital image or content without permission of the owner is a direct violation of the Australian Copyright Act.
The exclusive rights of the copyright owner are not unlimited. The copyright law establishes some limitations on these rights. One of the most important limitations on the exclusive rights is the doctrine of “Fair Use.” The “Fair Use” doctrine allows limited copying of copyrighted works for educational and research purposes. The copyright law provides that reproduction “for purposes such as criticism, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research” is not an infringement of copyright. The law lists the following factors, which courts must consider together in determining whether a particular use of a copyrighted work is a permitted “Fair Use,” or is instead an infringement of the copyright:
- the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for non-profit or educational purposes: the non-commercial or educational use is more likely to be a fair use;
- the nature of the copyrighted work: the more factual and less creative the work, the more likely it will be fair use;
- the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole: the more taken the less likely to be fair use; and
- the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work: in other words, is the use taking away from the copyright owner money that the she might have been making from the work.
When Do I Need Permission to Copy?
Unless you are absolutely sure, relying on the doctrine of “Fair Use” to avoid seeking Permission to copy a work can become risky. Despite what you may have heard, there are no set rules about what kind of use is “fair” and what is “infringing.” For example, using less than a certain number of words from an author’s work does not automatically constitute fair use. Courts apply the four factors on a case-by-case basis, and one court’s interpretation of the factors could easily differ from another’s. Thus, it is often impossible to predict whether or not a court would find any given unauthorized use to be “fair.” The best course of action is simply to seek permission for all copied material you intend to use.
To obtain permission, you must determine; who is the copyright owner of the material you intend to use, contact the owner, and obtain permission to use the work in the territory and format you intend, and — in some cases — pay the owner a fee.
If the use is not commercial — meaning no one is trying to make money from it (such as a not-for-profit organisation), then you may be able to get the rights for free. The publisher or distributor should be able to provide you with ownership information or even obtain and provide the permission.
Online digital media sources such as FLICKR often provide the rights to the creators work on the media’s page. Providing you provide source, and it states not for commercial use, you are generally good to go. Just remember to include the author’s name in the caption area to attribute the rights.