Back to the Future

Last week, I blogged about the Future Library – a 100 year artwork where each year for the next 100 years, a writer will be commissioned to write a work for the Future Library.  However, the works will not be viewed by anyone or published until 2114.  Readers in 2114 will get the chance to look back and see how the world worked 100 years previously and possibly get glimpses of the future. Over the weekend, I discovered an almost opposite project – France in the XXI Century.  France in the XXI Century is a series of postcards by a number of French artists created for the 1900 World Exhibition in Paris.  The postcards were futuristic drawings showing what the artists thought France would be like in the year 2000.  There are at least 87 known cards and 51 of these have been added to Wikimedia Commons.  The cards are out of copyright and in the public domain. The cards are interesting in their own right but having discovered them at more or less the same time as the Future Library, I couldn’t resist the serendipity of it all.

You can view all 51 images on Wikimedia Commons but below are some of my favourite images.

Divers on horseback by Jean-Marc Côté.

Continue reading “Back to the Future”

Copyright and The Big O (Orientation, that is!)

Recent blog posts have focused on getting ready for teaching and Semester 1, but for many of you this time of year is when you’re flat out getting ready for Orientation.  No doubt you’re busy making the hard decisions (should we go with Fantales or Minties for the lollies giveaway?) and haven’t had much of a chance to spare a thought for copyright.  So here are our top copyright tips for Orientation.

Performing Music at Orientation Events

The University has a music licence which allows us to play music at University events.  So whether it’s Tay Tay at the FBE students’ welcome sausage sizzle; or a live performance of classical music to accompany the Dean’s welcome, we’ve got you covered!  There are some conditions and limitations that apply and more information is available on our website or you can contact us.

Photographing and Filming at Orientation

If you are photographing or filming students at Orientation then you may need to get their consent.  Two consent forms are available – one for if you are just photographing people or filming them and one to use if the person being filmed or recorded is creating or providing copyright material, for example if you are doing a Vox Pop for students.  This consent form can also be used if you are asking students to create content for you that may then be uploaded and shared on the web or via social media. Copies of both consent forms and information on using them is available on the staff hub.

If you are photographing or filming at events where there are large numbers of people present; it may not be practical to get consent from each individual person. Signage is available to let people know it’s happening and what to do if they don’t wish to be filmed or photographed.  You can download templates for the signage from our website.

Social Media

Many of you will be making use of the University’s social media presence to communicate with students.  If you upload images to social media, make sure that the images are copyright compliant. Here are 3 quick and easy ways to source copyright compliant images:

  1. Create the image yourself.  If it includes people make sure that you get their consent to post the image on social media (see above).
  2. Use images from the University’s imagebank (for University themed images)
  3. Use Creative Commons images (for more general images). You can limit your search on Google to just Creative Commons content.  We posted instructions on how to do this in one of Christmas blog posts. (just ignore the Christmas theme!)

These tips work equally well for any website or print media such as a poster or brochure.


If you are running competitions for students during orientation, there are some requirements to be aware of and you can contact us for more information

We hope that these suggestions have made your orientation preparation both a little easier and copyright compliant.  We’re happy to help, so if you have any more questions, send us an email or give us a call.

Image credits – University orientation from the University imagebank1950s ‘Sweetacres’ Fantales and Minties advertisement by Bess Georgette, licensed under CC BY-SA

The Future Library and Future Copyright

Over the weekend, I stumbled across an article in The Age about The Future Library: Why you face a big wait to read any of the books.  The Future Library is a public artwork by Scottish artist – Katie Paterson comprised of four key components:

  • A forest of trees growing over the next 100 years just outside Oslo
  • One commissioned writer every year for 100 years contributing a text to a collection to be published in an anthology of books made from the paper produced by the forest of trees in 2114
  • A room designed by the artist which will house and hold in trust the growing collection of unpublished and unread manuscripts
  • A Limited edition artwork – a certificate that entitles the buyer to one complete set of the texts printed on the paper made from the trees after they are fully grown and cut down in 2114[1]

The Age article was an interview with novelist David Mitchell, who was the second author to contribute to the project.  Margaret Atwood being the first.  Icelandic novelist, Sjon, is the third artist and will contribute his work in 2017.I am totally intrigued by this project – imagine writing a text with the intention of not allowing anyone to read it for 100 years.  Although the “embargo” period will be less for later texts added to the collection.

Of course, being the copyright nerd that I am, I couldn’t help but ponder the copyright challenges for this project, particularly when I read this paragraph in the Age article:”The future does bring one benefit, though. Mitchell realised he could quote as many song lyrics as he liked without having to pay, because in 100 years’ time they’d be in the public realm. “So I’ve quoted from a Beatles song.””  I had a little *LOL* and thought “Ah, famous last words!”

There is no guarantee that the Beatles or any other current song lyric will be in the public domain in 100 years time.  Copyright owners and rights holders have successfully lobbied in the past for copyright to be extended.  In 2005, the Australian copyright term was extended from life plus 50 years to life plus 70 years, meaning no works will come out of copyright under Australian law until at least 2025.  Given that many copyright owners and rights holders are large corporations – they have a vested interest in keep their catalogues in copyright for a long as possible – it is likely that they will continue to lobby for copyright to be extended and extended and extended, ensuring no works enter the public domain.  Even now, there are suggestions that copyright should be lengthened to life plus 100 years.  On the flip side, suggestions by the Productivity Commission in their recent review of IP, that the duration or copyright should be shortened have been meet with howls of protest from authors, creators and copyright owners. As a result, David Mitchell (or his heirs) may well end up still having to pay the Beatles’ heirs to use their lyrics.

But what are some of the other copyright issues?

The contributed texts are all unpublished and will remain unpublished until 2114, and are all protected under copyright law.  Under current Australian copyright law, and in many other jurisdictions, unpublished material remains in copyright indefinitely until it is published when the copyright clock starts ticking.  Once published, the work becomes subject to the normal term of copyright, which is currently life plus 70 years or 70 years after the year of publication if the work is first published after the author’s death.  So under the current rules, the contributed works should all still be in copyright.  However, there have been suggestions as part of copyright reform that the duration for unpublished material should be the same as for published material – the people at the Productivity Commission were very busy little bees when reviewing copyright!  If this change was implemented, by the time the texts were published in 2114, if the author had died before 2044, the work could be out of copyright.  The work would enter into the public domain as soon as it was published.  Many people would argue that this would be a good thing – the work could be freely shared and adapted and built upon. However, I can’t help but wonder if the authors’ involved would share the same view?

Let’s assume the opposite – what if any changes to copyright between now and 2114 strengthen and lengthen protection rather than shorten and reduce it?  As a result, the works all remain in copyright and will continue to be once published in 2114.  This will pose some challenges to Future Library Trust who are responsible for looking after the texts for the next 100 years and then publishing them in 2114.  Presumably some sort of copyright agreement was entered into the authors?  Did they transfer copyright?  Did they waive their copyright to make it easier to manage the work in future?  Did they adopt a licensing scheme such as Creative Commons (and if so, can we still guarantee that that licensing scheme will still be valid in 2114)?  Did any agreement take into account potential changes to copyright and what impact it might have on The Future Library.

It is likely that copyright will change over the next 100 years and whether it is strengthened or reduced, any changes will potentially impact The Future Library.  Currently, there is no information on their website about how copyright is the works will be managed. Just how exactly copyright will change is an unknown.  There is always a balancing act between protecting author’s rights and ensuring that the community can access and use copyright material. So if you are keeping an eye on The Future Library to see which authors contribute to the project, spare a thought for copyright.


1 2016 Press release – The Future Library

Image Trees by jingoba  From

Jump in, the water’s fine – Find out what polar bears and teaching material have in common!

Yes it’s that time of year again when all of you with upcoming teaching commitments are thinking about whether your resources are ‘good to go’. Remember that Readings Online is an easy, fast way to make subject readings available.  Any subject readings that you provide to your students must be copyright compliant and Readings Online will mange the copyright requirements for you.

There are two ways of setting up your readings in Readings Online. You can email Readings Online ( a copy of your reading list and we will set your readings up for you. Or you can also upload your own readings to Readings Online using the self service option.  Information guides are available via the Readings Online website if you want to find more about self service.   We are also running information session throughout February so that you can learn more about Readings Online.  For more information, visit our Events webpage.

If you’re interested in finding out more about how Readings Online works, you can visit our demonstration LMS subject on polar bears.  You can see how Readings Online integrates with the LMS to provide students with a well presented reading list. To access this LMS subject, you will need to self-enrol in the subject by:

  1. Log into your LMS account here first,  then
  2. Click our self enrol link here and select ‘Submit’.

That should help you get started, but remember, we’re only an email or a phone call away! So if you need help, if you’re unsure, contact us now! We’re here to help you!  Happy Compliant Teaching!

Image: Polar Bears by Skeeze Via


Welcome Back, Happy New Year and Happy Public Domain Day


Welcome back and Happy New Year.  As this is our first post for 2017, we would just like to wish you a belated Happy Public Domain Day!

The first of January of every year is Public Domain Day, which marks the legal transition of copyright works into the public domain as prescribed by the local copyright laws of each country or jurisdiction.  In many countries, copyright protection is generally given to a particular work for the life of the author plus 70 years.  After this period, the work ceases to be protected by copyright and enters the public domain.  This means that the work can be freely used by anyone for any purpose without needing to seek permission from the copyright owner.  Because of the variability of the term of copyright protection in different parts of the world, Public Domain Day is not universally observed, but it nevertheless serves as an important reminder to celebrate the notable contributions made by distinguished artists and authors.

Unfortunately, in Australia no works have entered the public domain in 2017.  Duration of copyright in Australia was extended in 2005 from life of the creator plus 50 years to life plus 70 years. The changes were not retrospective –  works already out of copyright or due to come out on 31 December 2004 remained in or entered the public domain.  However, as a result of the extension to 70 years,  no works will come out of copyright, and into the public domain, in Australia until 1 January 2025.  Only 2920 sleeps to go!!!!

Indeed, the Productivity Commission in their recent review of Intellectual Property found that:

The scope and term of copyright protection in Australia has expanded over time, often with no transparent evidence-based analysis, and is now skewed too far in favour of copyright holders. While a single optimal copyright term is arguably elusive, it is likely to be considerably less than 70 years after death.

This statement lead to an outcry from authors and creators – resulting in a high profile campaign to protect authors and creators’ rights. Despite the fears of many creators and authors, although the Productivity Commission suggested revisiting the length of copyright in Australia with the possibility of reducing it, copyright duration is determined by international treaties to which Australia is a signatory to and therefore it would be very difficult to shorten copyright protection here.

Further information on copyright duration is available on our website and you can also read the Productivity Commission’s final report on their Review of Intellectual Property. You can find out more about how works in other countries with different copyright terms have come into the public domain on Public Domain Day.  I especially like the example of the film It’s a Wonderful Life and how being in the public domain was responsible for the film’s population and growth into Christmas classic as broadcasters were freely able to broadcast the film.

We hope that you’ll keep reading our blog as we have lots of interesting blogs planned for 2017.

Image: Fireworks by nickgesell  Via


On the 12th Day of Copyright Christmas

On the twelfth day of Copyright Christmas, my true love gave to me twelve fantastic sources for free copyright friendly art and images, eleven ways to use music under the music licenceten ALCC copyright factsheets, nine steps for creating a copyright compliant Christmas card, eight times you don’t need to ask permission to use copyright material, seven steps to protect work that I have createdsix submissions to the Productivity Commission Review of Intellectual Property five new information sheets from the Australian Copyright Council (ACC), four steps for using Readings Online self servicethree copyright news articles,  two quick and easy ways to get my subject readings ready for 2017 and 1 copyright compliant video on Youtube.

Once upon a time copyright made finding photos and art difficult, but museums and other sites are now making an increasing amount of their content available for educational use. What was once only available to some — for a price — is now becoming available to many . . . . for free.


Check out our 12 picks this Christmas, which are especially helpful if you are creating educational resources or need art for your personal use. If there are any personal favourites that we have missed, please let us know by posting a comment.

  1. Flickr
    This is the biggest photo sharing site on the web, and many of the pictures are available for personal or educational purposes. Use the advanced search feature to select for Creative Commons licensed images.
  2. Foter
    Foter uses the Flickr API and searches Creative Commons photos
  3. pixabay
    All images and videos on Pixabay are released free of copyrights under Creative Commons CC0. You may download, modify, distribute, and use them royalty free for anything you like, even in commercial applications. © Attribution is not required.
  4. Trove: Australia in Pictures
    All images included in this group are also made searchable in Trove, a service hosted by the National Library of Australia but built on the collections of thousands of organisations and individuals!
  5. The New York Public Library
    The NYPL Digital Gallery has digitized over 800,000 items for free and open access from the library’s vast collections. You’ll find illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, rare prints, photographs and more. Taking a MOOC on the history of Asia? Well, if you can’t get to central Manhattan to study in the library, you can try the digital collection instead.
  6. The Rijksmusem
    One of the largest museums in Europe dedicated to arts and history, made 250,000 works from its huge collection available for free online viewing or download.
  7. FreeRange
    This site has a good collection of animals, objects, people, places or abstracts that can be useful for archaeology or architecture projects. The site was formed with the goal to provide quality stock photos for commercial and non-commercial use. For free.
  8. Morguefile
    This site contains free images for creative projects and hosts over 350,000 free stock photos which are free to use for commercial use.
  9. Free MediaGoo
    FreeMediaGoo gives access to quality free stock photo backgrounds and images – for free. It provides content developers with royalty-free photography that can be used in print, film, TV, Internet or any other type of media both for commercial and personal use. The content is provided obligation free – there are no trademarks or copyright issues and no limits on the amount of free photos you can use.
  10. Getty images
    Free to embed in websites, blogs or online content. Getty has an extensive collection of embeddable images. Select the filter option to sort for ‘Embed Images’. The embed code is provided – when you use the embed code you are not actually making a copy.
  11. Engage Media
    This is an Australian-based site which distributes videos about social justice and environmental issues in the Asia Pacific. All videos are CC licensed.
  12. Wikimedia Commons
    Wikimedia is a database of over 17 million freely usable media files. Almost all content hosted on Wikimedia Commons may be freely reused subject to certain restrictions (in many cases). You do not need to obtain a specific statement of permission from the licensor(s) of the content unless you wish to use the work under different terms than the license states. See open content and public domain.

Images above

Wesolych Swiat: Okoń, Tadeusz (1872-1957) Art and Picture Collection The New York Public Library

Kermit Merry Christmas: Alexas_Fotos ©CC0

Christmas greeting card from the Sanitary Man, 1938, Public Domain,

Father Christmas in Australia: State Library of Queensland – digital image collection

Christmas Puppy: Mara Denardo

Old Woman Reading: Gerard Dou 1632



On the 11th Day of Copyright Christmas …

On the eleventh day of Copyright Christmas, my true love gave to me: eleven ways to use music under the music licence, ten ALCC copyright factsheets, nine steps for creating a copyright compliant Christmas card, eight times you don’t need to ask permission to use copyright material, seven steps to protect work that I have createdsix submissions to the Productivity Commission Review of Intellectual Property, five new information sheets from the Australian Copyright Council (ACC), four steps for using Readings Online self servicethree copyright news articles,  two quick and easy ways to get my subject readings ready for 2017 and 1 copyright compliant video on Youtube.

The University has a licence with the Australian music industry that allows us to use recorded music for educational and University purposes.  Here are eleven ways in which we can use recorded music under the music licence:

  1. Stream music to students for educational purposes using Subsonic
  2. Make music available for students to download for educational purposes using Subsonic
  3. Create a compilation of recorded music and give to students on a CD, DVD or thumb drive (like a kind of musical course pack)
  4. Play live music in class either for educational purposes or as background music
  5. Play recorded music in class either for educational purposes or as background music
  6. Include music (either live or pre-recorded) played in class as part of the Lecture Capture recordings for students
  7. Perform recorded music at a University event.  The music can be either for background music or a key part of the event (e.g. a concert).
  8. Perform live music at a University event.  The music can be either for background music or a key part of the event (e.g. a concert).
  9. Make an audio or video recording of music performed at a University event.
  10. Give a copy of the recording of the event to students or make available online only to staff and students
  11. Play recorded or live music in the office for staff or at a staff event such as the University Services Christmas party

See our Music Licence webpage for more information about using music under the Music Licence.

Finally, since this a music theme post, I will conclude with my 12 Days of Copyright Christmas tradition of sharing my personal favourite Christmas song, Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You.

On the 10th Day of Copyright Christmas …

On the tenth day of Copyright Christmas, my true love gave to me: 10 ALCC copyright factsheets, nine steps for creating a copyright compliant Christmas card, eight times you don’t need to ask permission to use copyright material, seven steps to protect work that I have createdsix submissions to the Productivity Commission Review of Intellectual Property five new information sheets from the Australian Copyright Council (ACC), four steps for using Readings Online self servicethree copyright news articles,  two quick and easy ways to get my subject readings ready for 2017 and 1 copyright compliant video on Youtube.

On the 2nd day of Copyright Christmas, we gave you 5 information sheets from the Australian Copyright Council, today we would like to give you 10 fact sheets from the Australian Libraries Copyright Committee (ALCC)

  • Materials protected by copyright – doc; PDF
  • Copyright term – doc; PDF
  • Uses controlled by copyright – doc; PDF
  • Using copyright material – doc; PDF
  • On site client access – doc; PDF
  • Offsite client access – doc; PDF
  • Supplying other libraries and archives – doc; PDF
  • Special libraries and archives – doc; PDF
  • Care of the collection – doc; PDF
  • Enhanced use of the collection – doc; PDF

The ALCC represents the library, archive and information sectors on matters related to copyright and their new fact sheets are a great resource for libraries and archives.  The fact sheets focus on issues relevant to libraries and archives and are available under a Creative Commons licence – meaning they can be freely shared within your organisation and can also be adapted to your needs if you wish.


Image – Christmas Trees by Alexas-Fotos  From

On the 9th Day of Copyright Christmas …

On the ninth day of Copyright Christmas, my true love gave to me: nine steps for creating a copyright compliant Christmas card, eight times you don’t need to ask permission to use copyright material, seven steps to protect work that I have createdsix submissions to the Productivity Commission Review of Intellectual Property five new information sheets from the Australian Copyright Council (ACC), four steps for using Readings Online self servicethree copyright news articles,  two quick and easy ways to get my subject readings ready for 2017 and 1 copyright compliant video on Youtube.

A quick and easy way to spread Christmas cheer is to send a Christmas card – either an e-card or you could make your own with some of the great Christmas images available on the web.  But how can you make sure that the image that you use is copyright compliant? Easy!

1. Open Google and enter your search terms


2. When the Google results are displayed, click on Search Tools and then Usage rights to limit the results to images that are available for re-use


3.  Choose the most appropriate usage type for your Christmas card.  For example if you are planning to modify the image or use it commercially make sure you choose a licence that allows you to modify the image or use it commercially.

4. Scroll through the image results until you find one that you like.  Click on the image to see it in full and for the full details of the image.


5. Click on Visit Page to see the image on it’s source page.  This will also display the licensing information for the image and you can make sure that you can use it for your Christmas card.


6.  Once you have made sure that the image is suitable, click on the download button.

7.  Select the appropriate size of the image for what you need and click on download and when prompted save the image to your computer.  You can also rename the file if you wish.



8.  Make a note of the title and creator information so that you can properly attribute the image.  If you click on the share button, you can usually find a short URL for the image which you can copy and paste to make it easier to link back to the image.  Make a note also of the Creative Commons information as you will need to include that in the citation.


9. Include a citation for your image with the Creative Commons licence information.

  • If using the image online you can create a citation with a link like this:  Christmas Angel by Annca.  CC0 Public Domain
  • If using the image in print, you can cite the image like this Christmas Angel by Annca  Used under a CC0 Public Domain licence
  • You can include your citation close to your image or any where else suitable on your work, so long as it is easy for someone to find the citation information.  For example on a print Christmas card, it might be more appropriate to include the citation on the inside of the card or on the back.
  • Note under the Creative Commons 0 licence, no attribution is required.  However, we still recommend that you attribute the image as it makes easier for people to find the image if they would also like to use it.

Hopefully, you will have some fun creating some Christmas cards, but don’t just limit yourself to Christmas cards.  These tips work equally well for other Christmas craft activities – let us know in the comments what other ways you found to use copyright compliant images!

On the 8th Day of Copyright Christmas

On the eighth day of Copyright Christmas, my true love gave to me: eight times you don’t need to ask permission to use copyright material, seven steps to protect work that I have createdsix submissions to the Productivity Commission Review of Intellectual Property five new information sheets from the Australian Copyright Council (ACC), four steps for using Readings Online self servicethree copyright news articles,  two quick and easy ways to get my subject readings ready for 2017 and 1 copyright compliant video on Youtube.

Traditionally, the Copyright Office has been staffed by cat lovers which is why we often feature cat photos and videos in our blog posts when we want to show you how to be copyright compliant. Bobby on Christmas morningThis Christmas, we have embraced diversity and we are now split evenly between cat and dog lovers.  Coincidentally both Peter and I have greyhounds which we adopted from the Greyhound Adoption Program.  GAP finds homes for greyhound that are no longer suitable for greyhound racing.  So to even things up between the cats and the dogs, this blog will use greyhounds to demonstrate when you need to get permission and what you should do when you ask for permission.

We often talk about how you need to get permission from the copyright owner to use their work, however there are situations where it is not necessary under copyright to seek permission. Here are 8 of the most common situations that you are likely to come across when doing teaching, research or other University purposes where it is not necessary to seek permission:

  1. You created the material yourself and therefore own the copyright in it (I own the copyright in this photograph of our beautiful Greyhound ‘Bobby’, so I don’t need to ask anyone for permission to use it).
  2. Your use is for teaching at the University and is covered by the provisions for education 
  3. You are copying or performing music for educational or University purposes as covered by the Music Licence
  4. You are using material for research or study or criticism or review and it is covered under fair dealing
  5. Copyright in the work has expired
  6. The University of Melbourne owns copyright.
  7. You are copying or communicating an insubstantial portion
  8. The copyright owner has already given their permission for their work to be used, e.g. Creative Commons Licence, terms of use on a website

So what do you need to consider if your situation is not one of the above and you do have to get permission?  Well first of all you need to identify and contact the copyright owner.  I was inspired to write this blog because I wanted to use the lovely greyhound photos shown below.  All of the photos were published in the Greyhound Adoption Program (GAP) Christmas Newsletter and in order to feature them in our blog, we needed to get permission.

The second step in seeking permission is to contact the copyright owner. We recommend that you do this in writing so there is a record of exactly what you asked permission for and what permission has been granted.  Information on what you should include in your permission letter (or email) and a sample letter is available on our website.  In a bid to ‘lead by example’ we approached GAP, explained why we wanted to make copies of their photos, and asked their permission to do so. They very kindly allowed us to share these 8 beautiful pictures with you.

So please enjoy these lovely dogs (if you’re a dog lover) while you ponder the importance of copyright compliance.  Cat lovers, don’t despair, the cute kitties will be back in 2017.

If you are using material for University purposes and need to seek permission, the Copyright Office Permissions Service can organise permission on your behalf.  If you are seeking permission yourself, for more information on how to do it see Requesting Permission From a Copyright Owner to Reproduce Material


Images: BlueStream Pictures, provided by the Greyhound Adoption Program

Number of posts found: 26