TV & radio broadcasts

Part VA of the Copyright Act and the Screenrights Agreement allow the University to copy radio and television broadcasts received in Australia and use these for educational purposes, in return for royalty payments to the copyright owners.

The Screenrights Agreement also allows the University to copy podcasts of radio and TV programs broadcast by free to air channels in Australia. See Podcasts for more information.

This Agreement also allows us to access and use digital copies of news and current affairs content from free to air broadcasters via the TVNews (via Informit Online) database.

What can I copy under the Screenrights Agreement?

You can copy:

  • any radio and television broadcast received in Australia including movies, documentaries, advertisements, news, programs, music and so on
  • any program from both free to air television or cable television but not web casts, as these are not classified as broadcasts under the Copyright Act
  • the whole or part of a radio or television broadcast: there are no limits on the amounts you can copy, provided the transmission was received in Australia.

What can I do with Screenrights and TVNews copies?

Provided the copies are to be used for educational purposes, you can:

  • play the recordings in a class to University of Sydney staff and students
  • copy items onto a laptop and screen it in a tutorial or lecture
  • stream copies to University staff and students via systems such as WebCT, Blackboard or Lectopia
  • edit copies to make compilations of programs. Remember to respect the moral rights of the creators
  • make multiple copies in different formats, but remember that all copies must be appropriately marked
  • distribute copies to students on CD or thumb drive as long as all copies are appropriately marked and the Part VA Warning Notice appears before the files open
  • email copies to students, provided a Part VA Warning Notice is sent with the email
  • place copies in a library collection as long as they are only used by or lent to University of Sydney staff or students
  • make hyperlinks to items in TVNews from systems such as WebCT or Blackboard
  • bear in mind that students can view TVNews items online or save a copy to a workstation for later viewing.

Are there any restrictions on access to copies of off-air broadcasts?

Yes. You must keep the following limitations in mind:

  • programs recorded off-air can only be used for educational purposes
  • copies can only be used by University staff and students
  • online access to copies must be restricted to University staff and students
  • a Part VA Warning Notice must be displayed before an online file opens for use. TVNews items display the Warning Notice automatically.

Do I have to keep a list of what I record?

No, you do not have to keep records routinely. The only time you need to keep records is during a Screenrights survey period. These occur every 3-4 years and you will be advised when a survey is about to be carried out.

Labelling your copies

Individual DVDs and containers must be labelled with a Part VA label, which includes the following information:

  • a statement that the copy was made for the University of Sydney under Part VA
  • the date the program was broadcast
  • the date the actual copy was made
Image of a Part VA label

Get copies of:
Part VA label in word doc format
Part VA label in pdf format

Preview copies

You can make copies of broadcasts and keep them as preview copies for 14 days while you decide if you want to keep them and use them for educational purposes.

Preview copies do not need to be marked if they are discarded or wiped within the 14 day period.

If the copy or a segment from it, is shown to students or used for the educational purposes during this 14-day period, the tape should be properly marked and retained as a licensed copy.

Part VA Warning Notice

The Part VA Warning Notice must be displayed immediately before digital copies of broadcasts are made available online to University staff and students. The wording of the notice must not be altered.

Image of Part VA warning notice

Get copies of:
Part VA Warning Notice in word doc format
Part VA Warning Notice in pdf format
Part VA Warning Notice in jpg format

How do I arrange for copies to be recorded?

  • you can record copies yourself either at work or at home
  • you can ask someone else to do it for you
  • staff in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences can request the Arts eLearning team to make recordings of many of the free to air channels for them. Requests should be sent, with sufficient notice (preferably several working days), to the Arts eLearning team at
  • if you miss a program you wanted to record for teaching purposes, you can contact one of the agencies licenced by Screenrights to record programs and supply them, on a cost recovery basis, to educational institutions which have a licence in place with Screenrights. These include:

Tape Services Online (now closed)
QUT IHSS Audio, Video and Off-Air Recording (within 28 days of the broadcast)

Copies purchased from these agencies should be treated the same way as copies we record ourselves: they should only be used for educational purposes and access must be restricted to staff and students of the University

  • digital copies of news and current affairs content from free to air broadcasters can be obtained from the TVNews (via Informit Online) database
  • if the program has been broadcast by a free to air channel in Australia and is available as a podcast, you can download and use it for educational purposes under Part VA.

More about TVNews (via Informit Online)

The TVNews (via Informit Online) database consists of a searchable index and the digital content of news, current affairs and selected documentaries from free to air television stations in Australia. The database is only made available to institutions with an agreement with Screenrights and the conditions of use are the same as those for off-air recordings made under Part VA of the Copyright Act as outlined above.

Copies of videos can be incorporated into WebCT and Blackboard as long as access is limited to University of Sydney students.

Coverage dates from September 2007, including, from June 2008, local ABC news bulletins from Australian capital cities, along with local versions of Stateline.

How to watch live 'free-to-air' TV on your computer at the University?

The live streaming satellite broadcasts are available for viewing at any time by staff and students on the University of Sydney computer network, including desktop computers in lecture theatres.

  • This service allows staff & students access to live TV feeds for educational purposes. It eliminates the need for external antennas all over University sites.
  • There are two ways you can watch live TV from your computer whilst on the University wired network. Please visit the University's ICT website for setup and more information.
  • Broadcasts can be streamed from this link as well.
  • Under the Screenrights Licence you can also stream copies from this broadcast to University staff and students via learning management systems such as Blackboard. Just follow the conditions of the licence above.