Skip to main content

Protecting your copyright

Curtin’s Intellectual Property Policy and Procedures determines who owns copyright in works created by University staff and students.

Unless there is an agreement to the contrary:

  • Students own the copyright in their work (including theses). This means staff who want to use student work, for example to demonstrate exemplars, will need to ask students for their permission to do so.
  • The University owns the copyright in work created by staff as part of their day-to-day duties, including teaching materials.
  • Staff own the copyright in scholarly works created by them, The University claims a non-exclusive, royalty-free licence to use the work for educational and research purposes.

Copyright Ownership

Although not required under the Act, it is best practice to indicate your copyright ownership on any work you create. For published material, copyright wording usually appears in the first few pages of the publication. For online content, it is common for copyright wording to appear at the start or end of a work.

The wording should include the copyright symbol, your name, the year the work was created or published, your contact details, and any conditions of use. For example:

The notice should include the copyright symbol, your name, the year you created or published the work, your contact details and any conditions of use you wish to impose. For example:

© Copyright 2018 J.Bloggs. All rights reserved.

When specifying conditions of use, consider what kinds of uses you would like to permit or prohibit. You may want to consider making the work available under a Creative Commons licence. We have listed some examples of conditions of use below, however you can seek further advice on wording from Legal Services.

  • No part of this [work] may be reproduced, in whole or in part, without the written permission of the copyright holder.
  • Permission is granted to use this [work] for personal use and for educational purposes.
  • This [work] may be used as permitted by the Copyright Act 1968, provided appropriate acknowledgement of the source is provided.

Assigning your copyright

Creators of copyright works may assign their copyright to someone else. If you assign the copyright to another individual or group, you will no longer be the copyright holder. A common example is when researchers assign their copyright in a research article to a publisher. Moral rights remain with the creator, even if copyright is assigned.

You should consider carefully if you want to assign your copyright, as you may find yourself in a position where you need to seek permission from the publisher to use your own work elsewhere, and in some cases you may need to pay a licensing fee for that use. You may want to consider negotiating the terms of the copyright assignment, to retain some of your rights (e.g. the right to deposit a copy in Curtin’s institutional repository espace). If you sign an agreement, make sure you keep a copy for your records.

Curtin staff should be aware that the University’s Intellectual Property Policy and Procedures  require them to notify the University in writing if they assign their copyright ownership to a commercial entity.

Licensing your copyright

A licence of copyright may be preferable to assigning copyright, as you can retain your copyright ownership while allowing the licensee to use your work in a particular way. Licences may be exclusive or non-exclusive:

  • Exclusive licence – the licensee is the only one who can use the work in the way specified in the licence. For example, a book publishing agreement may grant a publisher the exclusive right to publish your novel, which would mean you cannot licence the publication rights to anyone else.
  • Non-exclusive licence – you grant someone the ability to use the work, but you may also continue to use the work in that way yourself, and you can grant others non-exclusive licence to use the work. For example, you may grant a non-exclusive licence to more than one publisher to reproduce your illustrations in a book, as well as reproducing the illustrations yourself.