Copyright exceptions

The Copyright Act includes exceptions to infringement that allow uses of copyright material without permission.

Some exceptions commonly relied on are:

A person’s research or study
  • article from a periodical; or
  • if ‘work’ published as edition’: 10% of pages or a chapter; or
  • if ‘work’ in electronic form: 10% of words or a chapter; or
  • use is otherwise ‘fair’ having regard to factors in the Copyright Act
Criticism or review
  • use is ‘fair’; and
  • acknowledgement
Parody or satire
  • use is ‘fair’
Reporting the news
  • use is ‘fair’; and
  • news is in a newspaper, magazine or similar periodical with sufficient acknowledgement; or
  • news is in a film; or
  • news is ‘communicated’ electronically (e.g. available on a website or broadcast)
Professional advice
  • professional advice by legal practitioner, patent attorney or trade marks attorney; and
  • use is ‘fair’
Judicial proceedings
  • for a judicial proceeding or report of a judicial proceeding
‘Space shifting’ of music
  • you own a copy of the music (e.g. a CD)
  • you make a copy solely to play on a device you own (e.g. an iPod) in private
‘Time shifting’ of broadcasts
  • you record a broadcast from television or radio solely to watch and/or listen to later, in private
‘Format shifting’
  • you own a photograph, book, newspaper, periodical or videotape
  • you make a copy in a different format for your private use
Libraries, galleries and museums See here
People with disabilities See here


The Copyright Act includes some exceptions that allow the use of artworks without permission. In summary:

public art
  • work is a sculpture or ‘work of artistic craftsmanship’; and
  • work is displayed in a public place, but not temporarily; and
  • you make a two-dimensional reproduction (photograph, drawing, painting or engraving); or
  • you film or broadcast the work
buildings and models
  • work is building or model of a building; and
  • you make a two-dimensional reproduction (photograph, drawing, painting or engraving); or
  • you film or broadcast the work
‘incidental’ filming or televising
  • your inclusion of an artwork in a film or broadcast is ‘only incidental to the principal matters represented’
publication of reproduction or film of artwork
  • you have made a reproduction or film under the public art exception, building exception or incidental filming exception


The Copyright Act includes statutory licences (sometimes referred to as compulsory licences or legal licences) that allow certain uses of content without a copyright clearance, subject to fair payment. Copyright Agency has been appointed by the Australian government to manage statutory licences for education and government.

Further information

See Australian Copyright Council’s website for  information sheets, detailed guides, an annual training program and a legal advice service.

This information is for guidance only. It is not legal advice.

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