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Protecting Your Works

 Under Australian copyright law, any work you create is automatically protected by copyright as soon as it is in a material form. You have a  monopoly over how your work is used until or unless you assign your copyright to someone else.

Some strategies for asserting your copyright: 

  • Keep proof of your work with times, dates and locations
  • Keep letters or correspondence of any agreements made about creation of material or ownership
  • Include a copyright notice on material as a visual reminder that your work is copyrighted. This can be as simple as adding the Copyright symbol ©
  • Add a watermark to identify your work
  • Upload a low resolution version of you work for promotional purposes if you work is in digital format.
  • Include a statement specifying what your re-use and sharing policy is.
  • Include contact information and instructions for people seeking permission to reuse your work.  This clarifies to others when permission is required, and who to contact. 
Tip: Take particular care if intending to share your work on social media. Be sure to read the terms and conditions, as many social media sites require users to assign or transfer their rights to the platform!

Learn more:

Enforcing Your Rights

Step 1:

As the copyright owner, you have the right to take action if you believe your copyright has been infringed.

Determine what you would like to occur. For example, you may be able to demand:

  • An injunction (‘cease and desist’);
  • That illegal copies be returned or destroyed, along with the masters/copy plates to create these; or
  • Payment equivalent to the loss or profits, or plus legal costs

Step 2:

Notify the infringer of the breach and explain what you would like to occur. Not all copyright infringements are deliberate, and a simple ‘Take Down’ request may suffice. The Copyright Council’s lawyers can assist individual creators, as can independent legal practitioners. You could also engage a lawyer to draft a formal ‘letter of demand’. Should this still not settle the dispute, court action may be required.

Learn more:

Arts Law Support

Watch this video to see how Arts Law supports Copyright enforcement for Artists.