Government use of copyright material
The main ways for government to use copyright material are through:
- statutory licences;
- direct licences, such as the purchase of material or subscriptions; and
- creative commons licences and other freely available materials, such as materials where copyright has expired.
The Copyright Act provides for a government use statutory licence. This enables Commonwealth and State/Territory governments in Australia to make certain paid uses of copyright material without seeking permission.
We manage two main agreements between Commonwealth agencies and copyright collecting societies for copying of copyright materials. This allows these agencies to copy copyright material, and it means that copyright owners are paid for the use of their material. These are:
- the agreement with Screenrights, which covers the copying of film, television and radio content; and
- the agreement with Copyright Agency, which covers the copying of written material (including text, images and print music) in digital and hard copy.
There is no whole-of-government agreement that covers the use of music by Commonwealth government agencies. Agencies are required to establish their own arrangements. This could include through a direct licence or other arrangement. OneMusic Australia provides joint Australasian Performing Right Association and Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (APRA-AMCOS) and the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA) licences that covers government use of music.
Agencies can email us for information about the appropriate arrangements for their needs.
Australian Government intellectual property rules
The Australian Government creates and holds a large volume of copyright materials. Agencies are responsible for managing these materials.
The Australian Government IP Rules provide guidance on how Australian Government agencies should manage their IP, and how different types of IP should be used. They contain information about:
- parts of government contracts and agreements that are about IP
- publication and licensing of government information
- Government use of copyright material
The IP rules comprise the principles and the documents below:
- Intellectual property principles for Commonwealth entities
- Guidelines on licensing public sector information for Australian Government entities
- Australian Government intellectual property manual
The following documents are also available on request by emailing us:
- sample model contract clauses
- explanatory material about the intellectual property policy and the model contract clauses
- licensing and use of Commonwealth material