Skip to main content

Research and study

The following information summarises the copyright exceptions available to staff and students who use material for research and study purposes.

Fair dealing

The ‘fair dealing’ provisions of the Australian Copyright Act permit individuals to copy limited amounts of copyright material, without infringing copyright, as long as the purpose is research or study, or criticism or review. You are generally not permitted to copy the material in its entirety – fair dealing copying limits are described below. You cannot use the copy for any other purpose.

Fair dealing for research or study

To be considered a ‘fair dealing’, you should consider:

  • The purpose and character of the use;
  • The nature of the material;
  • Whether you could obtain the material within a reasonable time at an ordinary commercial price;
  • The effect of the use on the potential market for the copyright holder;
  • How much of the material is used in relation to the whole item (refer to the copying limits below).

Examples of fair dealing for research and study might include copying as part of the research process, such as preparing an article, or general reading to maintain current awareness in your field of expertise.

Fair dealing for criticism or review

The Australian Copyright Act does not provide specific guidance as to what constitutes a ‘fair dealing for criticism or review’. Similar to fair dealing for research and study, there are copying limits described below.

Examples of fair dealing for criticism and review might include: a lecturer copying a work for inclusion in a conference paper for the purpose of commenting critically on the material; communication between academics for the purpose of criticism and discussion; students copying film clips to critique them as part of an assignment.

Acknowledging your sources

It is good academic practice to acknowledge any material you copy, noting its author, title, and source. Attribution of the creator is a legal requirement under the moral rights provisions in Australian copyright legislation.

Fair dealing copying limits

Any copying you do under the fair dealing provisions must be considered ‘fair’.

Type of MaterialCopying LimitAdditional Comments
Extracts from a literary or dramatic work.

e.g. book, play, novel, anthology, journal, newspaper
Journals/newspapers – One article per issue, or more than one if the articles relate to the same subject.

Books – 10% of the words or one chapter (whichever is greater).
Single copy only, for your own individual use.

May only make multiple copies if your purpose is 'criticism or review'.

e.g. if you make a tutorial presentation commenting on the work and need to provide students in the tutorial with an extract copy.
Artistic work.

e.g. painting, sculpture, cartoon, photograph, diagram
May copy in its entirety.Limit to a single copy unless multiple copies required for 'criticism or review'.

e.g. sound recordings, film, video
Little guidance, but amount is quantitative and qualitative.Seek advice if you want to copy more than a small amount.
Licensed content.Depends on the terms and conditions in the licence agreement.Licensed content available through the Library generally permits limited copying for non-commercial, personal use.
Website content.Check terms and conditions on website.Website content generally permits limited copying for non-commercial, personal use.

Software and ICT

Curtin has agreements with various software providers which cover the use of software by particular groups, or for specific purposes. Any use of software outside of the terms of these agreements is prohibited.

Any copying of software manuals must meet terms of software agreements, and/or fair dealing copying limits (manuals are considered a ‘literary work’).

Material which does not support the educational purposes of the University must not be downloaded, copied, or communicated using Curtin equipment, facilities, or networks. For additional information on appropriate uses of technology refer to the ICT Appropriate Use Procedures.