What should I do to protect my copyright?

What should I do to protect my copyright?

If you live here in Australia, the good news is copyright protection does not depend upon registration, publication or any other procedure. Material is automatically protected by law from the time it is first written down or recorded.

It does make it easier to assert your copyright and pursue a violation if you have used a copyright notice that is recognised internationally. The notice consists of the symbol © (or the word ‘copyright’), the name of the copyright owner, and the year of first publication.

That said, if you are able to show a paper trail and evidence that you are the originator of a piece of work, then copyright can be proven.

For comprehensive information about copyright, contact the Australian Copyright Council.

How do I get permission to use someone else’s words, images or music?
I have a lifestyle blog about living on a small property here in Australia. I wanted to feature a specific poem on there – the famous Dorothea Mackeller piece “My Country.”  She has since passed away, but the copyright was bequeathed in her Estate. It was simply a case of tracking down the representatives and asking for permission. I was thrilled permission was granted, and I was given the words that should be displayed alongside the poem.

 “Reproduced here by arrangement with the Licensor, The Dorothea Mackellar Estate c/-Curtis Brown (Aust) Pty Ltd.”

It can be as simple as that.

If you are writing a book, clearing permissions for use of third-party material can be a time-consuming task if you have numerous permissions to request, so it’s best to start the process as soon as possible. It helps to treat this part of the project as a mini project in its own right and be meticulous about recording details and permissions. This will save you time and stress at submission stage. The last thing you want to have to do is start cutting material from your book because you haven’t arranged the permissions in advance.

The following sites may help track down copyright owners:


International Copyright

Australia is a party to a number of international treaties that protect copyright material. These include the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (Berne Convention) and the Universal Copyright Convention (UCC).





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