ACU (Australian Catholic University)


Quick Guide on Copyright for Research/Study and Publication of Thesis in ACU Repository

As students use a variety of resources for study/ research, and/or publication of their thesis, those resources used may be subject to copyright. Copyright deals with rights assigned to creators/copyright owners of original works (literary, artistic, creative or musical, computer software/programs, etc).  Copyright is part of Intellectual Property and matters not covered under copyright may be dealt under Trade Marks and Patents.

What can be copied without infringing copyright?

  • resources where the copyright has expired. Ie. in public domain
  • using insubstantial portions of a "work"
  • resources used under fair dealing.

Use under Fair Dealing

As a result of special provisions in the Copyright Act, if you use copyright material for the purpose of research or study, you do not infringe copyright, provided your use is "fair". Whether or not your use is fair will depend on all the circumstances.
The fair dealing provisions of the Act are an exception to the exclusive rights of copyright owners and allow for copying and/or communication for certain purposes to be done for free without infringing copyright:

  1. Fair Dealing for the purpose of criticism or review
    Requires sufficient acknowledgement of work
  2. Fair Dealing for the purpose of study or research
    Fair dealing of literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work; or adaptation for purpose of research or study
  3. Fair Dealing for the purpose of parody or satire
    "The amendments do not define the terms which are similar and can overlap. Satire often involves attacking an idea or attitude, an institution or a social practice, through irony, derision, or wit. Parody often involves the imitation of the characteristic style of an author or a work for comic effect or ridicule."  (Source: Attorney-General's Department)

Under the Copyright Act, creators have moral rights, which are the right of attribution and the right to have the integrity of their work retained.

Publication of Thesis to ACU's online repository

While you can rely on fair dealing provisions for research and study including submission of the thesis for the examination process, these provisions cannot be relied upon when you "publish" your thesis to the University's online repository or submit parts of your work for publication ie journal.

If you have included third party material in your thesis, you may need to request for permission from the copyright owner before the thesis can be placed online. As you work towards completion of your thesis, you should consider seeking permissions from the copyright owner for third-party materials.  If you receive permission from a copyright owner, you must retain the records.

For more information, please check out the OakLaw's Copyright Guide for Research Students: What you need to know about copyright before depositing your online thesis in an online repository (PDF, 203KB). This guide also includes a template for securing permission from a copyright owner.

Please contact library staff if you need further help with copyright matters. 


  1. Australian Catholic University (2006) Print and Graphic Copying and Communication Guidelines (PDF, 67KB). Retrieved Jan 4 2011
  2. Attorney General's Department (nd) New Australian Copyright Laws: Parody or Satire. Retrieved Jan 6 2011

If you require further information with regards to copyright, please contact your local ACU library or enquire online using the web form.

Page last updated: 27 Jun 2017

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