Copyright on the Internet

The Internet has become a vital source of information.  However, material on the Internet is also protected by copyright.  Downloading, copying, saving and printing material from the Internet are covered by copyright.  Some websites will indicate implicit permission by showing 'print' or 'printer friendly version', but that does not necessarily allow unlimited copying, nor does it mean that the material can be distributed, especially for commercial gain.  The Australian Copyright Council, for example, allows one printed copy to be made of information sheets from its website for personal and non-commercial use only. Multiple copies are required to be purchased through the Council.

Please note that, throughout this guide, you are referred to various websites to obtain additional information, forms and policies. In most cases, this information will be protected by copyright and, therefore, may not be used to reproduce multiple copies.  At most, an association will be permitted to make one copy for its own use.  The website will usually state if more copies can be made and distributed.  If in doubt, contact the organisation concerned and ask for permission to use the material.

A further warning – a large amount of material placed on the internet is there without the permission of the copyright owner (for example, many scanned articles and photographs).  Re-using that material without permission of the original copyright owner will breach copyright.

Copyright is an increasingly complex area as technology changes.  Associations should seek legal advice when unclear on copyright rights or obligations.

The Australian Copyright Council provides information and training for the public. 

Australian Copyright Council
PO Box 1986, Strawberry Hills   NSW   2012
Telephone:    (02) 8815 9777
Facsimile:    (02) 8815 8799