Skip to content | Change text size
Copyright website

Information for:


  • FAQs
  • Resources & downloads (NB access restricted to Monash staff and students)
  • Contacts
  • Note: The copyright information contained on this site is general and for information only.

    For legal advice, please consult a solicitor.


Copyright information for Monash students

General information

Research students

Further information

Ownership of student copyright

As a student at Monash you own copyright in all your original coursework or research. This includes theses, assignments, exam answers, essays, projects etc. unless you have agreed in writing to another arrangement. Staff usually need permission to use your copyright material. Where students become involved in collaborative work (especially research) it is common for such permissions to be sought and given.

If you have created material with another student or a staff member, you are co-authors and you will own copyright as joint authors. This means any permission to use the copyright needs to be obtained from both authors. But if parts of the work can be separated, e.g. you wrote one chapter and they another, you will each be copyright owners of the part you wrote, not joint copyright owners.

There are exceptions to your ownership of copyright in your coursework and research where

  1. you have used background intellectual property that belongs to Monash and the University stipulated that IP rights (which include copyright) must be assigned in material created using that background intellectual property,
  2. the copyright material you created is the subject of an agreement entered into by Monash under which someone other than you owns the IP right in the material you created
  3. Monash has made a specific contribution of funding, resources, facilities or apparatus to create IP and this results in a patent worthy invention.

In these situations you will be required to sign a deed assigning relevant ownership rights to Monash.

For more information see Monash University Statute 11.2 Intellectual Property (PDF) and Regulations.(PDF)


Using the Internet at Monash

Copyright protection is taken extremely seriously at Monash University. The web is not a copyright-free zone. The fact that it is technically possible to copy and transmit content via the web doesn't mean that it is always legal to do so. When you download, reproduce, share or email material from the Internet, you risk being in breach of copyright law if you are not aware of your rights and obligations.

Content found on the Internet can only be copied / redistributed if one or more of the following applies

  • The copyright owner has included an up-front licence or statement of permission with their content (look for the site's Terms of Use or 'copyright' link)
  • The copyright owner gives you express written permission in response to your request for copyright clearance
  • Your copying or use falls within the scope of the 'fair dealing' provisions in the Copyright Act (fair dealing provisions allow for limited amounts of material to be copied or shared for the purpose of research and study; criticism and review; parody and satire).


Students may be liable

You are not anonymous when you use the Internet. Investigative bodies from the music and motion picture industries actively monitor the web to detect infringing activities. If complaints are received from these investigators or from copyright owners, the University will identify the responsible user and take action to prevent further infringements. This means imposing disciplinary measures on users, starting with the suspension of access rights.

If the copyright owners decide to take legal action against a student for copyright infringement, the student is personally liable for damages and costs and may be expelled from the University. Monash University will not defend or support students in court if they use Monash resources to carry out unlawful actions.

Using library e-journal, ebook or database content

Journal articles or ebook chapters sourced from online journal databases and electronic resources must only be used in accordance with the terms and conditions of that particular licence agreement. The library provides access to a wide range of electronic databases, ejournals and ebooks and generally these are licensed to allow Monash staff and students to access and download content for their own personal research and study and in reasonable amounts. If you want to download content from ejournals or databases for other, broader purposes, you can check the databases use table to see what is allowed; or send a query about a specific ejournal's licence terms through (category Library>resources>databases).

Please do not

  • download whole issues of ejournals without checking licence terms first with (category Library>resources>databases)
  • scan or re-upload content or files from the Library's online resources (ebooks, databases ejournals etc) to another website (even if password protected, like Moodle). Please just link instead.
  • use software to 'trawl' or download content in bulk from licensed eresources


Information technology use at Monash

In the absence of any specific permission or licence agreement that may allow such use, you cannot use your computer access at Monash to:

  • Download third-party copyright materials such as films, MP3 recordings, or software from the Internet
  • Upload third-party copyright material such as audio files, video files, software or commercial photographs to a Monash website and make them available to the public
  • Distribute by email any third-party copyright material (MP3s, video files, commercial photographs or software) to another person
  • Store third-party copyright material, including MP3s, video files, commercial photographs or software, on computers or servers

Monash policies prohibit students and staff from

  • Providing links on a Monash website that offer access to pirated or copyright infringing material;
  • Directing users to copy infringing material (pirated MP3s, video files, software, unauthorised document copies)

For details refer to the Acceptable Use of Information Technology Facilities by Students Policy within the Monash Policy Bank.

Peer-to-Peer file sharing programs

The use or installation of peer-to-peer file sharing programs is not permitted at Monash, unless you have been given explicit permission from the Head of School and only for legitimate research purposes. The University monitors the network for P2P usage and can easily identify a user who has used or installed a peer-to-peer file sharing program without these permissions.

If you use University resources such as Monash computer accounts or Monash email to carry out actions that infringe copyright you will be in breach of the IT Acceptable Use Policy and disciplinary action may be taken on this basis.


Examples of infringing activities may include

  • Uploading other peoples' / companies' / organisations' content (eg audio files, video files, software, text, commercial photographs, etc) to a public access website without permission from the owners.
  • Emailing copyright material without permission of the owner: remember, even if you acquired the content legally, you may have done so under a licence, and that licence may prohibit further transmission.
  • Providing links which direct users to copyright infringing material (which could include unauthorised MP3 recordings, video files, software or commercial photographs, pirated scans of textbooks or books generally available for retail).
  • Storing unauthorised copyright material (including audio files/ MP3 recordings, video files, commercial photographs or software), on University computers or servers
  • Photocopying textbooks and selling or exchanging them on the web.

Refer also to these Copyright linking guidelines


Using audio and audio-visual content

Personal research and study

Students may be able to rely on the Fair Dealing provisions in the Copyright Act when using DVDs, CDs or other audio / audio-visual content just for their own personal research and study. However, students are advised to be aware of any copyright warnings presented with the content, and of any licence restrictions that may apply to content acquired under contract (ie in a 'click to agree' licence or subscription). Fair Dealing may not apply in such cases.

Can I play movies or TV shows in class?

Students may also play legitimate copies of DVDs, films, CDs or other audio or audio-visual resources in class (ie, as part of an assessment task). The resources cannot be 'pirate' versions, for example downloaded from p2p sites or copied from Youtube. This kind of 'live' presentation or 'performance' of content is allowed under a different part of the Copyright Act (s. 28).

Can I copy and show TV and radio programs in class?

Students are allowed to copy TV or radio programs for themselves.

If students play their copy in class (ie, as part of an assessment task) this is allowed under a different part of the Copyright Act (s. 28).

If students affix a Part VA label to their copy of a TV or radio broadcast program and permit the Department or School to retain this copy during semester, this copy (or parts thereof) can also be uploaded into Moodle (ie accessible only to other staff and students, not the general public) and/or further copies can be made for distribution among class members (free of charge) under the Part VA-Screenrights licence. All such copies must have the Part VA label attached; any the digital copy put in Moodle must also display the Part VA Copyright Warning notice. The Part VA label text and the Part VA Copyright Warning notice text is available on the Teaching page and also from Resources and Downloads section of this site (NB Access restricted to Monash University staff and students).

Refer also to the advice on using audio-visual content on this site's Teaching page.

Can I show a movie for a club, society fundraiser? Can I show a movie if we are not charging an entry fee?

As soon as the audience for a movie screening is outside the class, then you need a licence from the film distributors. This applies even where the screening is free or for charity. Roadshow provide permission for a lot of film distributors. Contact licensing in Sydney 02 9552 8685; and refer to the information (including FAQs) at their dedicated website - Roadshow Public Performance Licensing.


Send an email inquiry to the University's Copyright Adviser.