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Overview for educators

Using copyright material in the classroom and online

In Australia, copyright law allows educators to use third party copyright material for educational purposes without having to seek permission from the copyright owner.

The use of third party copyright material for educational purposes is permitted through special statutory and voluntary education licences and exceptions within the Copyright Act.

Different education licences and exceptions apply depending on how the material is being used, and whether you are using:

There are a number of exceptions that allow University staff to reproduce material in accessible formats to assist students and staff with disabilities. For more information see Assisting a person with a disability.

Download our printable guide to using copyright material in the classroom and online.

About the education licences
  • The Copyright Act contains a statutory licence under which the University can copy and communicate works and broadcasts for educational purposes, subject to a number of conditions.

    The previous educational statutory licences in Parts VA and VB of the Copyright Act have been replaced by one simplified statutory licence set out in section 113P. The change took effect on 22 December 2017.

    In addition, the University has entered into a voluntary Music Licence with the Australian music industry collecting societies APRA, AMCOS, ARIA and PPCA. The Music Licence enables staff and students to copy and communicate sound recordings for educational purposes, perform music at free University events, and play music on campus.

    The Statutory Licence

    The educational statutory licence allows the University to copy and communicate works (except for computer programs) and television and radio broadcasts for educational purposes.

    All copying and communicating made under the statutory licence must include a section 113P warning notice.

    The Music Licence

    The Music Licence is an agreement between the Australian universities represented by Universities Australia, and the music collecting societies APRA, AMCOS, ARIA and PPCA.

    The Music Licence broadly includes the following rights:

    • copying music or sound recordings for educational purposes
    • performing music in public at free university-run events
    • playing music in the workplace
    • playing music on hold

    All copies must be made from legitimate sources. Sound recordings created or copied under the Music Licence must include the following statement as metadata, or a label:

    "This recording has been made by The University of Sydney under the express terms of an educational licence between it, ARIA, AMCOS, APRA and PPCA and may only be used as authorised by The University of Sydney pursuant to the terms of that licence"


This information is provided as general information only. It provides a basic introduction to copyright and is not intended to be comprehensive.

Reviewed December 2017