Copying under the education licence

The education licence managed by Copyright Agency allows teachers to copy and share text, images and print music without a copyright clearance.

The Australian Copyright Act contains provisions that allow educational institutions to copy and share content in ways that would otherwise require a copyright clearance. Copyright Agency manages the education licence for text, images and print music. Screenrights manages the education licence for broadcast content.

Australian teachers can copy and communicate text, images and print music without a copyright clearance if:

  • it is for educational purposes, and
  • they work for an educational institution that is covered by payment arrangements with Copyright Agency.


The education licence allows the copying and sharing of text and images from any source or format:

  • digital or hardcopy
  • online or offline
  • Australian or foreign content
  • published or unpublished content


The education licence provisions in the Copyright Act were simplified and updated with effect from December 2017. Copyright Agency is in the process of developing new, simple guidelines in consultation with authors, publishers and education authorities.

In the meantime, the old provisions effectively apply to schools, TAFEs and universities affiliated with Universities Australia. If you work in a different type of education institution (such as a registered training organisation), please contact us.

We set out a guide based on the old provisions below.

A ‘work’ is an item of text or an image, usually created by a single ‘author’. An ‘edition’ (such as a book, journal or newspaper), or a publishing platform such as a website or CD ROM, may contain many ‘works’. For example, in a newspaper, each article, opinion piece, letter to the editor, cartoon and photograph is a separate ‘work’.

In some cases, a teacher may use only a ‘reasonable portion’ of a work, not the entire work. For some content, a specified proportion is deemed to be a ‘reasonable portion’. More than this specified proportion can be a ‘reasonable portion’, but there is no guidance in the legislation about how much. Similarly, there is no guidance on what constitutes a ‘reasonable portion’ of works such as artistic works.

The following is a guide.

entire work
deemed “reasonable portion”
hardcopy If:

  • unpublished
  • published, but not separately
  • not available (in any form) within a reasonable time at an ordinary commercial price
  • an article in a periodical (such as a journal, newspaper or magazine) – more than one if they are on the same subject
  • a text work of no more than 15 pages published in an anthology
  • an image that accompanies (and explains or illustrates) text that can be copied under the Part VB educational statutory licence.

Otherwise, a ‘reasonable portion’.

If work published as  edition of 10 or more pages:

  • 10% of the number of pages, or
  • a chapter (if more than 10% of the pages)
  • if one of hardcopy criteria applies
  • work available for purchase, but only in hardcopy
  • work is an image (even if it is available for purchase in digital form)

Otherwise,  a ‘reasonable portion’.

If work published:

  • 10% of the words
  • a chapter (if more than 10% of the words)
  • 10% of a musical work

There is a general understanding that a student in a course should receive no more than a ‘reasonable portion’ for that course. For example, a history teacher who copies 10% of a commercially available book for a class should not copy another 10% of the book for the same class.


Uses allowed by the statutory licence include:

  • hardcopy content: photocopying, scanning
  • digital content: saving to disk, printing, making available online, emailing

‘Electronic use notice’

Digital (‘electronic’) copies and communications (e.g. emailing, making available on a server) should be accompanied by the following notice:


This material has been reproduced and communicated to you by or on
behalf of [insert name of institution] pursuant to Part IVA Division 4 of the
Copyright Act 1968 (the Act).

The material in this communication may be subject to copyright under
the Act. Any further reproduction or communication of this material by
you may be the subject of copyright protection under the Act.

Do not remove this notice.


In addition to the uses of music allowed by the educational statutory licence, APRA|AMCOS licenses the uses of music for education. More here.


The Australian Copyright Council publishes information sheets. It also publishes detailed guides, offers a legal advice service and runs an annual training program for the education sector.

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

9 March 2018