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Referencing and Research Help: Copyright

This guide will assist you with your research skills so that you can learn to access and use information.

What is Copyright?

copyright Copyright is owning the rights to what you have created.
It is is a type of legal protection for people who express ideas and information in specific forms, e.g. writing, images, music or video.
Copyright protects the form or way an idea or information is expressed, not the idea or information itself.

Having copyright over a work allows creators (such as authors, teachers, musicians, etc.) to be compensated for the use of their work, and is therefore an incentive to create.

The Copyright Act (1968) and various Intellectual Property Acts provide the legislative basis to manage rights.
Copyright owners have the exclusive statutory right to exercise control over copying and other exploitation of their works for a specific period of time . Exceptions to the Australian Copyright Act, such as Fair Dealing , allow students and teachers to use the work of a copyright owner in a limited manner without permission. All other uses require permission.

Exceptions under Fair Dealing allow students and teachers to copy a work for the purpose of research and study.
Generally this allows students and teachers to copy:

  • A reasonable portion of a book - either 10% or one chapter (whichever is greater)
  • One article from a journal or magazine
  • 10% of the words on a webpage

In December 2017, changes were made to the Act under the The Copyright Amendment (Disability Access and Other Measures) Act 2017. This includes new Disability exemptions and allows libraries to make preservation copies of items they already hold.

Hunter TAFE no longer holds the Screenrights for Educational Institutions  licence - as a result, Hunter TAFE staff can no longer copy free-to-air tv, pay tv and radio programs (including podcasts and vodcasts of these); broadcast, or make these copies available to students. Refer to the Smartcopying website for further information:
Use of Television programs and Film by TAFE Institutes without a Screenrights licence

Here is a list of websites that will provide you with more information about copyright:

Free-to-use Images - Creative Commons licences

Finding Creative Commons images using Google

  • enter your search term in the Google search box and execute search. In the results list, click on Images, then Tools.


  • Click on Usage Rights and select Labeled for Reuse or Labeled for Noncommercial reuse.
  • You then have to attribute the image just underneath it in really small text with the URL of the site it came from and the Attribution licence type:
Creative Commons licence  - Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike

Use the Creative Commons Information Pack on the SmartCopying website to find out how to reference images appropriately.

Some other sites to find images that can be used under a Creative Commons licence. 

Example of photo with Creative Commons licensing

Always ensure that you attribute Creative Commons licensed materials. Here is an example of complete CC Attribution for the image below: 


Copyright puzzle
Large copyright sign made of jigsaw puzzle pieces by Horia Varlan
available at under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

Further information on how to attribute Creative Commons material can be found on the Smartcopying website

Copyright resource for TAFE students and staff - Sydney TAFE

Copyright Wordle by Chrissy H available at under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic 

Copyright Information for TAFE staff

Copyright information for TAFE staff available on the TAFE intranet.
(You will be required to login with your TAFE staff username and password)
TAFE NSW Intranet Logo

The Smartcopying website has been produced by the National Copyright Unit on behalf of the Copyright Advisory Groups (Schools and TAFE).

Free-to-use Sound & Music

Places to find sound and music under a Creative Commons licence.