Content for the general public

Most University of Sydney websites are created specifically for public access, which has implications for the management of copyright material:

  • a website as a whole is not protected by copyright. However, the individual parts which make up a website are protected, including the text, artworks, graphics and the underlying software.
  • if the content of the site was created by a University staff member as part of their regular duties, the copyright in the content will belong to the University
  • if the content was supplied by a designer or photographer employed to write text or take photographs for the website, the copyright situation will depend on the nature of the agreement between the University and the contractor
  • when you employ a consultant (who is not an employee of the University of Sydney) to supply content for a website, you should arrange for a written contract that deals with such matters as the ownership of copyright, the use that may be made of the material and the moral rights of the creator. See the University’s client-photographer agreement available on the Intranet (Word doc).

The Copyright Act does not give the University the right to make third party copyright material available to the general public via its websites or to use such material for any commercial purpose. The copyright owner’s permission will be required before you can upload their material.

Some exceptions to this rule include:

Note the following points in relation to obtaining permission from copyright owners:

  • you may be required to pay a fee for use of the material, so factor some costs into your planning
  • it can take time to arrange and you may not always obtain the permission you need
  • keep a record of any permissions you obtain
  • acknowledge the source of any third party material that you use
  • indicate on the website that the material has been reproduced with the permission of the copyright owner
  • see Hints on obtaining copyright clearances for more information on obtaining permission to use material.


Marketing & promotional use

The points set out above also apply if you want to include third party copyright material in print or online promotional and marketing materials.

Always ask for the copyright owner’s permission to use the material for promotional or marketing purposes, unless the conditions of use clearly indicate that this type of use is permitted.

Marketing and promotion would include the following types of use:

  • copying media stories featuring the University and its staff
    and posting these to alumni or potential students
  • uploading articles about graduates from newspapers to a faculty website
  • including photos from a book or magazine in a print or online newspaper advertisement for a University lecture or exhibition
  • using photographs of people. This requires their written permission first. A number of release forms are available from the Publications Office.

Conferences - Presentation and Publication

The same fair dealing provisions that protect the use of quotations and excerpts in scholarly writing also protect those uses in scholarly presentations. You may be able to include limited amounts of copyrighted text, images, or videos in your presentation slides (e.g. in PowerPoint slides) without the permission of the copyright owner for the strict purpose of "criticism and review".

However, if the conference organisers plan to use your presentation after it is over – for example, if video of your presentation is posted on the conference website, or if the slides are made freely available for download – your ability to include copyrighted work may be more limited.

You can generally show more than you can share, and you should clarify these issues in advance so that you have time to clear rights for the copyrighted material in your presentation, create a second version for distribution that does not include the copyrighted material, or choose alternative material that you are free to use.

If you need images (diagrams, photographs, etc) for a conference paper the copyright issues will be much easier to manage if you use Creative Commons licensed works.

You can try and source material that is "copyright friendly". For example, Flickr has a wide range of photos licensed under Creative Commons, as does Google Images.

The following steps can be applied:

MOOCS, iTunes U and other Open Access Course sharing sites

The emerging suite of open access courses and learning resources including MOOCs now provides additional informal learning options that are not necessarily tied to enrolment in formal qualifications and are available, at least initially, for free to wider community. When developing these open access courses, it is best to use:

  • works that has been created by you, where the copyright is held by either you or the University
  • works where you have written permission to use it in such sites
  • works with Creative Commons Licences and similar that allows material to be shared and distributed
  • works which are out of copyright
  • works from Open Education Resource Sites and similar web sites that can be shared and distributed