Using someone else’s content without their permission can be an infringement of their copyright.

Any number of day-to-day work activities can lead to copyright infringement if your business does not have an appropriate licence. Using just part of a work can infringe copyright if the part is an important or essential element of the work – it need not be a proportionally large part.

You can also infringe copyright by:

  • authorising or facilitating an unlicensed use by someone else
  • importing articles containing infringing copyright material
  • selling infringing articles

Other activities that can breach the Copyright Act include:

  • circumventing a mechanism that controls access to digital material
  • selling, importing or manufacturing circumvention devices
  • removing or altering rights management information in digital files
  • failing to attribute (or falsely attributing) the creator of a work
  • changing or doing something else with a work that damages the creator’s reputation or is offensive to the creator

There are special exceptions to infringement that allow some uses of copyright material without permission. And if the material you are using is old, the copyright may have expired.

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


The Australian Copyright Council publishes information sheets (such as ‘Infringement: Actions, Remedies, Offences & Penalties’ and ‘Infringement – What Can I Do?’) and detailed guides, offers a legal advice service and runs an annual training program.


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