Copyright is everywhere
Most information resources used (and produced) in the tertiary education sector are protected by copyright. Text books, journal articles, course packs, anthologies, software, lecture notes, theses, digital files, website material, images, diagrams, music, audio and video clips, broadcasts and podcasts - all are subject to the system of copyright protection. The ability to copy from, use and re-use this material is essential to the furtherance of tertiary educational purposes.
Copyright is fundamental to education
The ability to share, test and develop what came before us is how we learn and innovate. Copyright plays an important part in encouraging the creation and dissemination of works that convey ideas and knowledge. Without a functioning copyright system, content creators would be less likely to invest the time, effort and money into producing the high quality learning materials that teachers and students value and society benefits from.
Many authors rely on the fact that they may receive financial reward from the product of their creative effort. On the other hand, some authors create and publish material without any expectation or requirement for financial reward. These authors may place more value on free, open access to the material they create. Some consider that the wide dissemination that may be achieved through open access platforms provides an opportunity for increased recognition for their work, promotion and citations. On the other hand, it could be argued that publication via any reputable scholarly, scientificor other publication will also achieve these benefits. In any case, the basis of copyright is that authors have a right to choose if, how and when their works will be reproduced and communicated, subject to appropriate limitations to ensure sharing and access is not hampered.
Tertiary participants both creators and users
Teachers and students in the tertiary education system are often both significant creators and users of copyright content. They have a vested interest in understanding how copyright impacts on their ability to use third party content and how it protects their own work. It is important for all tertiary education participants to copy and share content legally and fairly as they would expect others to copy and share their work.
Importance of attribution
Acknowledging the author or source of a work is an expectation whenever third party material is copied and distributed in the tertiary educational space. The concept of attribution is legally required in a number of situations, including under moral rights, fair dealing and educational copying provisions. In addition, licence agreements generally require licensees to acknowledge the author or source or a work. Even in situations where it may not be a strict legal requirement, it is good academic practice to acknowledge the source of any third party material relied upon. The manner of acknowledgement will depend on the type of material and the relevant discipline.
Despite its importance, acknowledging the source of a copyright work is not a substitute for permission. If permission is legally required to use all or part of a work, identifying the work is not enough.