Australian copyright law is legislated at Federal level by the Australian parliament. It covers literary, dramatic, artistic and musical works, and subject matter such as published editions, sound recordings, broadcasts and films. The Copyright Act 1968 (Copyright Act) provides specific Statutory and Voluntary Licence schemes for educational use of copyright material. The Copyright Agency Limited (CAL) and Screenrights administer the statutory licences while the Australasian Performing Rights Association (APRA), AMCOS (Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society) are the main organisations which administer the voluntary licences. These uses are paid for by schools. AISNSW provides a channel for independent schools to pay annual per student copyright fees for the two statutory licences as well as the APRA, AMCOS and ARIA licences which cover the main uses of music in schools.

The National Copyright Unit (NCU) is a specialist copyright team responsible for copyright policy and administration for Australian schools and TAFE. NCU maintains a comprehensive series of information sheets providing useful facts, practical advice and scenarios on copyright for schools on the Smartcopying website.

Latest Updates

  1. Consent Forms for Schools– NCU has had a few queries from schools about seeking consent from students to use their works and/or include photos or videos of students in school material, particularly as schools are having to record their students as a result of COVID.

    NCU has drafted 2 separate forms to address this:
    - General student consent form - a form to deal with copyright in a student’s works; and
    - Student photo and video consent form – a separate consent form to deal with privacy in student’s photographs and videos if the school wishes to use photographs or videos of students. NCU does not recommend incorporating the privacy form as part of the general consent form.

    It is not mandatory to use these forms. They are simply templates to assist schools when seeking consent from students for the use of student works. The templates can be modified to suit the individual school’s purpose. These forms will be made available on the website in future.

  2. G Suite Information Sheet - which looks at why making material private is important and provides a quick guide on how to materials private on G Suite.

  3. Open Educational resources (OER) and Creative Commons (CC) licensing. 

OER are teaching and learning materials that are freely available for everyone to use whether you are a teacher, student or self- learner and can be freely distributed, adapted, translated, remixed and improved. They can be in any format including hard copy and digital text, audio, video, images, interactive multimedia and combinations of these. OER resources are usually licensed under Creative Commons (CC). CC is a suite of licences that creates a “some rights reserved” model. The copyright owner retains copyright in their work while inviting certain uses of their work by the public. A good place to start is our short explainers on OER and CC. 

For more information please visit Smartcopying.

Virtual End-of-Year School Events

NCU has successfully negotiated an interim music licence which will be in effect until 31 December 2020. Some of the new features of this licence include schools being able to upload recordings of their school events to official school social media platforms, such as Facebook and YouTube, and livestreaming their school event on Facebook Live, YouTube and Zoom.

For more information on the new ways schools will be able to share their end of year celebrations, see the update information sheet ‘Virtual End-of-Year School Events’.

Term 4: Copyright 4 Educators online course

Enrolments for NCUs next free seven-week online Copyright 4 Educators course open on October 12 (with the course starting on October 19). More information on the course is available here.

If you would like to register your interest for the course (and receive an email when enrolments open), please enter your details here

If you have any questions on the above please contact our NCU team at or contact the hotline (02) 7814 3855.

Extension to the Storytime agreement for schools

 NCU have also negotiated an extension to the school’s Storytime agreement, which will now expire at the end of Term 4 2020. Teachers will be able to continue to share storytime using Australian books via Zoom or Facebook Live with their students who are remote learning.

For more information, see Storytime agreement on our Smartcopying website.

NCU are running the following free copyright webinars this year:

Dates (2020)
21 October (9am - 3pm Perth time)
Click here for register
22 October (9am - 3pm Perth time)
Click here to register
13 November (9am - 3pm AEST)
Click here to register
20 November (9:30am - 3:30pm AEST)
Click here to register