Gathering, reproducing and distributing information is often an integral part of an association's business and activities.  Associations pursuing not-for-profit purposes are not exempt from copyright obligations.  Therefore, it is important for incorporated associations to be aware of copyright protection in order to protect their own material and to avoid infringing the copyright of others.  This chapter deals with some basic aspects of copyright.

 Key Points

  • Copyright refers to the protection of property rights of a creator of a work.  Copyright protection is provided under the Copyright Act 1968.  Material that is produced and published by incorporated associations may also be protected by copyright.
  • Copyright gives the copyright owner exclusive rights to control the copying and distribution of copyrighted work.
  • Copyright is infringed when the exclusive rights of the owner are violated and a copyrighted work is copied, reproduced and used without the owner's permission. 
  • Consumer Protection allows reproduction of this manual.

The information and material used by an incorporated association may be gathered from many different sources, including the Internet, and the association may itself produce its own original material. This might be in the form of documents, records, pamphlets, posters, photographs, drawings, videos, newsletters, books and magazines, to mention just a few.  The information both used and produced by an association is likely to be protected by copyright, which means that the material may not be freely copied, used or distributed.