What is copyright?

Contributed by Australian Copyright Council and current to May 2022

Copyright is a legal concept that protects creative work. By granting this protection, copyright creates an incentive for people to invest their time, talent and other resources to create material including writing books, composing music, making films, creating art, and other cultural material that enriches society.

Copyright is one part of a larger area of law known as intellectual property law, which also includes:
  • patents
  • trade marks
  • designs
  • plant breedersrights
  • circuit layout rights
  • confidential information, and
  • trade secrets.

In Australia, copyright law is set out in the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth)which is federal legislation and applies throughout Australia.

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