Copyright & copyright notices

Important mandatory requirement information

This is a Mandatory Requirement. View all Mandatory Requirements…

Copyright is a type of legal protection for people who express ideas and information in certain original forms and is administered under the Commonwealth’s Copyright Act 1968 (the Act). The most common forms are writing, visual images, music, films, broadcasts, computer programs and moving images.

Copyright owners have certain exclusive rights in relation to their material. These rights include making copies of the material, publishing the material for the first time, and communicating the material (for example, via email or the internet). Generally, it is an infringement of copyright to use a copyright owner’s material in these ways without permission unless an exception applies. For example, the Act contains exceptions which include fair dealing for the purposes of research, study, criticism, review, reporting news, etc.

Agencies must include appropriate copyright notices on their websites.

Why must I?

The Statement of Intellectual Property Principles for Australian Government Agencies was amended so that from October 2010 agencies are encouraged to use open licences when releasing public sector information (PSI).  PSI includes all materials which agencies are generally obliged to publish or otherwise allow free public access to. Under the amended principles, agencies are encouraged to license PSI under a Creative Commons BY standard by default, and only use more restrictive licences after a process of due diligence and on a case-by-case basis.

The Creative Commons licence allows users to copy, distribute, transmit and adapt material for commercial and non-commercial purposes, subject to attribution.

What must I do?

Prior to the release of material, ensure that it has the appropriate licence attached to it. The default licence type is the Creative Commons BY standard, while others may apply in some circumstances.

How do I?

The Attorney-General’s Department is developing guidelines on the use of Creative Commons and other licensing options. These are intended to assist agencies with their licensing decisions. The guidelines and relevant information will be available from the Attorney-General’s Department’s website shortly. At this point, agencies should be considering their move to the new system of licensing.

CC BY copyright notice – internet template

This is an example of the type of Creative Commons copyright notice that an agency may use for its website. Agencies may also refer to other tools to assist them in the design of their copyright notice for their website. For example, the Australian Governments Open Access and Licensing Framework (AusGOAL), available at: or the guidelines or other information that will be provided on the Attorney-General’s Department’s website.

With the exception of the Commonwealth Coat of Arms, [Agency’s logo], any material protected by a trade mark, XXXX [ie third party copyright material] and where otherwise noted, all material presented on this website is provided under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia licence.

The details of the relevant licence conditions are available on the Creative Commons website (accessible using the links provided) as is the full legal code for the CC BY 3 AU licence.

Content from this website should be attributed as XXXXX

Last Reviewed: 2010-08-31