Creating websites and publishing on the internet
How do you get copyright protection?
Copyright protection is automatic; there is no system of registration in Australia. A work does not need to be published, or have the copyright notice on it, to be protected. From the time it is first written down or recorded in some way it is protected, provided it has resulted from its creator’s skill and effort and is not simply copied from another work.
As a result of international treaties such as the Berne Convention, most foreign copyright owners are protected in Australia, and Australian copyright owners are protected in most other countries.
What does copyright mean?
Owners of copyright have the exclusive right to do certain
things with their material. This means that anyone who wants to use copyright
material in any of these ways may need the copyright owner’s permission.
Activities which may require a copyright owner’s permission are:
• reproducing the material (for example, printing, uploading to a website, downloading to a hard disk or floppy disk, caching, keying into a computer, scanning);
• making the material public for the first time (for example, by making a work available on the Internet);
• communicating the material to the public (for example, by making it available from a website or from a bulletin board or chat room, or emailing to people other than family or friends).
Who owns copyright in a website?
As noted above, it is unclear that a website, as a whole,
will be protected by copyright as, for example, a compilation. The component
parts, however, may be protected, and there may be numerous people who are
owners of copyright in those component parts. For example, one person may
own copyright in the graphics, another person may own copyright in the text,
another person may own copyright in the compilation of material
on the site and yet another person may own copyright in the navigation software.
How can we protect material we put on the Internet?
You should at least have a statement about copyright on your
site. There is no rule about where this statement should be, but it is a
good idea to have an easily recognisable link to it from each page on the
You may also want to consider technological means of inhibiting unauthorised copying or lifting of material from your site, such as requiring a password to download material from the site, or encoding information in the material on the site.