This FAQ section provides general information about using our service and some legal topics related to Copyright. It is not a complete overview of all legal issues that can arise in relation to copyright and educational uses nor is it a substitute for legal advice.
What is copyright?
Copyright is a type of legal protection for people who produce new works, such as writing, images, music and films. It is a legal right which prevents others from doing certain things (such as copying and reproducing those works) without permission.
Where does copyright law come from?
Copyright law originates from the common law (developed by Courts over time) and is also governed by the Commonwealth Copyright Act 1968.
Copyright and intellectual property
“Intellectual property” is a general term covering a number of areas of law. It includes copyright, trade marks and patents. Individual schools may have different approaches to copyright in works created by employees. These may be detailed in the individual’s employment contracts with the school. You should check with your employer for details of any restrictions on copyright in your employment agreement.
What does copyright apply to?
Things that can be protected by copyright include writing, visual images, music, computer programs and films.
No copyright in ideas
Copyright protects the form or way an idea or information is expressed, not the idea or information itself.
How do you get copyright?
There is no system of registration for copyright protection in Australia. You do not need to publish your work, to put a copyright notice on it, or to do anything else to be covered by copyright — the protection is free and automatic. There are no forms to fill in, and there are no fees to be paid. A work is protected automatically from the time it is first written down or recorded in some way, provided it is the result of its creator’s skill and effort and is not simply copied from another work. For example, as soon as a poem is written, or a song is recorded, it is protected by copyright. Australian copyright works are protected in most other countries, and copyright works from most other countries are protected in Australia.
The copyright notice
You do not need to put a "copyright notice" on your work for it to be protected in Australia. You may choose to put a copyright notice on your work to remind people that it is protected by copyright. You can put the notice on your work yourself; there is no formal procedure. The notice is: © (or "Copyright") + copyright owner’s name + year of first publication —for example: © Gus O’Donnell 1968.
How long does copyright last?
In most cases, copyright expires after a period of time, and the material enters the "public domain". For most material, copyright lasts for 70 years after the end of the year of the creator’s death.
Who owns copyright?
Who owns copyright when something is first created will depend on a number of factors including what type of material, and whether the material was made under an agreement. An owner of copyright can transfer the copyright, or parts of it, to others.
Who owns the daily Teaching Content I made for my classes, me or the school that I work for?
Traditionally, teachers owned their content rather than the schools or districts where they were employed. Check your school’s intellectual property policy and your employment contract to make sure. Here are a few basic guidelines and things to look for:
1) Traditionally, materials teachers made for the classroom (handouts, lectures, etc.) and also any materials written for publication were owned by the teachers. This is still usually the case. Sometimes policies distinguish between materials made in a traditional form (a handout, a monograph) and digital form (a multimedia project).
2) Many Intellectual Property policies distinguish between normal use of teaching equipment (the library, your stationary, photocopying) and more involved uses of school equipment. This is also often accompanied by the idea that if you are specifically assigned to create a website, using the IT staff, for a specific purpose or class, that material you created is likely to be the property of the school.
3) Check your school’s Intellectual Property policy: Does it make a distinction between the materials you create on your own initiative and those specifically assigned to you? For example, if you create a lesson plan about the weather that will then be distributed and be required to be used by the other teachers teaching about the weather, the school probably claims ownership.
4) A Caveat. If you used works you had previously created about a topic (eg the weather), and now are just modifying it for the current required task, you probably own the original copyrighted work, and the school owns the second. That means YOU usually can use the original work.
Who owns my students' work? Do I need their permission to include their work as part of my Teaching Content?
Students own their work. If you want to have complete copyright control of a student's work, you must get written permission to do so. That is, if you want to own the student's work, you need to have them assign the copyright to you in writing, and if they are a minor, you need written permission from the parent. (It is wise to obtain written permission even if you want to put the students' work in the public domain, free for all to use.)
Infringement of copyright
A person infringes copyright by making a "copyright use" (e.g. copying, broadcasting, making available on a website) without the copyright owner's permission. The person may have a defence to infringement if a special exception applies.
What do you mean when you say that" Seller’s grant TEACHERSMARKETPLACE a royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, nonexclusive, worldwide, sub licensable right to exercise any copyright, publicity and database rights the Seller has in the Teaching Content, as are reasonably necessary to make the Teaching Content available through the Service.”
You have given TeachersMarketplace.com.au only the right to a non-exclusive license to distribute your work (see our Terms of Service). You hold all of the rights associated with copyright: the right to copy or reproduce the work, to make derivative works, to distribute copies, to perform the work publicly, and to display the work publicly. You decide what Buyers can do with your Teaching Content.
If I co-write a resource with a colleague, who owns the copyright?
This depends on your arrangement with your colleague. Without a formal agreement, you would both be considered co-authors, each having rights to the underlying works. If you co-author materials, you should think in advance about how you and your co-author would like to organise control of the materials.
Can I take Teaching Content written by someone else or another entity, partially or significantly change it, and then sell it as my own?
You may only do this if the author of the original work agrees to this. If you are creating a derivative work, based upon the original work, that is, using an original work and then changing it, either partially or significantly then you may be creating a new work and may obtain the copyright in relation to that new work.
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If you have any questions about copyright, or your legal rights generally, you should seek professional legal advice.