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Copyright (including software)

1.What is copyright?Copyright is a property right that protects the way in which something is expressed. It does not protect ideas.
For example, if you write a short story based on the idea of an undersea city, the written text would be protected by copyright. However, someone else could write a story about an undersea city, using their own words, without necessarily infringing your copyright.
2.Does copyright protect my ideas and innovations recorded in the copyright work?No. It only protects the way that you express your ideas. If another person expresses the same idea in a different way, such as with different words, the first copyright is not infringed.
3.What rights does copyright give me? A copyright holder has the following rights in relation to the copyright work:
  • to copy it
  • to publish it
  • to license it
  • to translate it
  • to make an adaptation of it
  • to perform it
  • to broadcast it.
The copyright holder also has the right to bring proceedings against an infringer.
4.Does copyright need to be registered?In Australia, no.
5.Does copyright subsist 'worldwide'?Amongst countries that are members of the Berne Convention, yes.
6.How long does copyright last?The duration of copyright for most types of copyright work is until 70 years after the death of the author. The duration can be shorter for some types of works.
7.When can I use the © symbol?Only the owner of copyright can use the © symbol. The copyright owner may be someone other than the author.
8.How is the © symbol used?The usual way of using the © symbol is as follows:
© [followed by the owner's name] [followed by the year in which the copyright work was created], for example
© John Smith 2012
9.Is it compulsory to use the © symbol?No.
10.Are there any disadvantages to not using the © symbol?By using the © symbol the owner calls attention to the fact that copyright subsists, and that the rights conferred on the copyright owner are claimed, including the right to bring proceedings against an infringer.
11.How much of another person's copyright work can I use without their permission?There is no rule that using up to a specific percentage of another person's copyright work does not require permission. Even a very minor use, such as reproducing a section of musical riff, or a paragraph in a book, could amount to infringement.
12.Are copyright works on the internet 'free' so that I can freely copy them?If the terms of use of a copyright work on the internet, such as open source code or a Creative Commons licence, permit the work to be copied, then you can, if you comply with the conditions (if any) that the copyright holder imposes.
But generally, a copyright work on the internet is not able to be copied without the copyright holder's permission.