How do you get copyright?

Contributed by Australian Copyright Council and current to May 2022

Copyright is free and automatically applies the moment you create something original and express it in ‘material form’ (e.g. paint a painting on canvas, write a story written and stored on paper or digital file).

There is no registration system for copyright in Australia, so you do not need to fill in any paperwork, pay any fees, or go through any formal registration process to get copyright. Be wary of any websites offering to register copyright in Australia for a fee.

In some countries, like the United States, you can register your copyright. However, even in those countries, registration may not required to get copyright in the first place, but it may be necessary for example, to bring an action for infringement of copyright.

For information about international copyright protection, see the Australian Copyright Council fact sheet Copyright Protection in Other Countries.

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