Private & domestic use

Copying for private use

There are some provisions in the Copyright Act which allow you to copy material that you own for your private and domestic use.

Format shifting exceptions

Under these exceptions you can copy some types of material that you own into different formats for your private and domestic use.

You can copy the following types of works as long as you own the original item:

  • books, newspapers or magazines into different formats , for example, you could scan an item from a newspaper that you have purchased into electronic format and store it on your computer for future reference
  • a photograph into another format by scanning a hard copy photo or printing off a digital file
  • a videocassette into electronic format such as a DVD.

Some limits apply:

  • the original must be a legitimate copy - it cannot be a pirate or illegal copy
  • you cannot sell, lend or give away any copy you make - but you can lend a copy to a member of your family or household
  • you cannot make multiple copies in a similar format, either from the original copy or from later copies you have made
  • copying computer games is not permitted
  • you must not remove any anti-copying measure attached to the material you own to make the copy.

Remember this is an individual right for private and domestic use only. It does not apply to organisations or to commercial use of material.

Private copying of music

Under s109A you can copy a sound recording or CD that you own into another format for your own private and domestic use. This exception is often called the iPod exception.

You can make sequential copies, for example, you can copy a CD that you own to the hard drive of your PC and then copy that content to your iPod or to your car sound system.

Some limits apply:

  • you must own the original copy & it must be a legal copy – not a pirated copy
  • any copy you make must be made for your own private and domestic use
  • any copy you make must be used on a playing device that you own
  • you cannot sell, lend or give away any copy you make - but you can lend a copy to a member of your family or household
  • if you sell, swap or dispose of the original copy of a sound recording you must also dispose of the copies
  • you cannot upload any music to the Internet
  • you must not remove any anti-copying measure attached to the material you own to make the copy
  • any copy you make must not be made from a podcast of a radio broadcast or similar program unless it is licensed for private use.

Time shifting TV and radio programs

Under s111 of the Copyright Act you can record television and radio broadcasts to view or listen to at a more convenient time.

There are some limits:

  • the recordings you make must be used for private and domestic purposes
  • there is no fixed time for keeping the recording – you can keep it until you have an opportunity to watch it or listen to it
  • time-shifted copies should not be stored for repeated use. This exception is not designed to allow you to create a library of off-air recordings instead of buying the material
  • you cannot lend, swap, sell or give away a recording but you can lend a copy to a member of your family or household
  • you cannot make further copies of the of the recording
  • you cannot upload a recording to the Internet – this is illegal and could lead to prosecution
  • you cannot not copy material from a DVD or material that is made available over the Internet as a download or webcast.

Copying for private and domestic and copying for research and study: the differences

Note that copying for private and domestic use is not the same as copying for Research or study. There are some significant differences in the amounts you can copy and the use you can make of copies produced. These differences are summarised in the table below.

  Private use  Fair dealing for Research and Study
1.
You must own the material that you copy
You don't have to own the material being copied - for example, it can be  borrowed from a library collection
2.
The material must be copied for your own private and domestic use
You can only copy the material for your research or study
3. You can copy the entire work
You can copy a reasonable portion, that is 10% or 1 chapter from a book or one article from an issue of a periodical (more than one if needed for the same research or course)
4.
You can share copies but only with a member of your family or household
You cannot lend or share copies with anyone
5.
Artistic works, sound recordings & videocassettes can be copied in full.
Artistic works, sound recordings & films can only be copied if they satisfy the five factors test for fair dealing.