Copyright basics

Students own the copyright in the materials they create, and they should consider copyright when using the materials of others.

Copyright is a set of rights that belongs to a work, and it determines how others can copy and communicate the work. Works are print, electronic and audio-visual materials, and they can be published or unpublished. Copyright is automatic; a work is protected as soon as it is created in a material form. For more information see What is copyright?

Works you create

As a student at UNSW, works that you create, including works you create for course assignments, are automatically protected by copyright, and you are the copyright owner.

For example, if you write a research paper for a literature course, you own that content and can control how others copy and communicate it. Copyright also applies to substantive comments you write on course-related message boards and to artworks you create for portfolios or assessments.

Works created by others

Copyright should also be a consideration when you are creating works and are using the works of others. Just as copyright determines how others can copy and communicate works that you own, copyright determines how you can use the works of others.

The main exception to copyright that is important for students is called fair dealing for research or study. It allows students to copy reasonable amounts of works for the purpose or research or study. A reasonable amount is generally considered to be 10% of the pages in a book, one chapter or one journal article.

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