Copyright is the most common type of intellectual property (IP). Copyright is a right that exists as soon as an idea is expressed in a material form e.g. written down. There is no need to register the work created for it to be protected by copyright. The Copyright Act 1968 (Cwlth) (Copyright Act) specifies how long copyright protection lasts.

Copyright covers literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works; films, broadcasts, sound recordings and multimedia. Copyright material is property and can be sold, transferred or licensed by the owner. The owner can take action for infringement if people fail to seek permission before using a substantial part of the owner's copyright material. However, the Copyright Act provides defences or exceptions for people using the owner's material without permission in certain circumstances.

This guide explains what copyright is, how it is applied, what it protects and the rights of copyright owners.