Copyright Infringement Australia


What to know more about copyright infringement in Australia?

Read on.

Introduction to Copyright


Intellectual property rights including Copyright are starting to be extremely valuable for businesses, especially in the online space. It has been said that intellectual property is the oil of the 21st century. Unfortunately, there are some people out there that don’t have an original thought in their own head and would prefer to be lazy and copy others.

The Courts overall take a dim view of these types of individuals and businesses that copy others and commit copyright infringement.

What is Copyright?

Copyright is a type of intellectual property, that gives a bundle of exclusive rights to the copyright owner. For small business owners, this means that you are able to control and determine how your work may be used by others. Copyright protects only the form in which ideas and information are expressed, however not the ideas and information themselves.

Copyright’s scope of protection is provided by:

  • legislation, i.e. the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth));
  • case law; and
  • various international agreements Australia is a party to (e.g. Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works).

Australian Copyright Laws

It is important for you to know that in Australia, copyright is free and automatic upon creation of the work. It therefore does not depend upon registration on an official register with IP Australia. Works and subject matter published before the current Copyright Act’s inception may also potentially be covered.

Ultimately, copyright protection is offered for:

  • “Works” (literary, dramatic artistic and musical); and
  • “Other subject matter” (films, recordings, broadcasts and published editions); and
  • “Performances”.

In most instances copyright protection for works, subject matter and performances will arise when the person was a “qualified person” at the time the work or subject matter was made or published or the performance given.

Copyright Infringement FAQs

Examples of copyright infringement?

Here are some common examples of copyright infringement:

  • Using copyrighted images, videos or songs on your website or social media page.
  • Making copies of artworks without asking for permission.
  • Recording a film in a movie theater and reproducing this.
  • Copying large bits of someone else’s copyrighted text for business advertising.
  • Dealing or importing (without permission), infringing / copyrighted content.

What do I do if I find someone is breaching my copyright?

If you have found that someone is infringing your copyright, your first step should be to preserve the evidence and take screenshots of the offending material(s).

It’s also important not to engage with the person infringing your material(s). Getting into a lengthy argument is not going to assist you and your case. We highly recommend contacting a copyright infringement lawyer as soon as possible to assess your options for the content to be taken down.

An option could be to draft a copyright infringement notice (or cease & desist letter) to the person / entity who is infringing your copyright.