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Licensing and copyright

What is the connection?


Copyright law protects print and electronic text, images, audio and video. There are specific conditions in which you can make copies from works protected by the Copyright Act, 1968 (Commonwealth).

You can use copyright material without the copyright owner's permission in certain situations. These include making a "fair dealing" for research and study, and copying certain amounts of material for teaching purposes.

You may copy 10% of the pages of the work, 10% of the words (if published electronically) or one chapter, whichever is greater. If the work is out of print or can't be obtained in a reasonable time or price, then you might be able to copy more than 10%.

You can copy: 

  • the whole, or part of one article from a periodical
  • two articles from one issue - if they both deal with the same subject matter 
  • the whole or part of a literary or dramatic work in an anthology, if it is not more than 15 pages 
  • an artistic work which accompanies a literary or dramatic work, to illustrate the text
  • the whole or part of an artistic work, if not separately published or obtainable at a reasonable price

If you use another person's work in your assignments, teaching or research, you have to attribute, or reference, the author/creator of material. You must also indicate the author/creator and reference source.

Need further expert advice? Please contact Copyright Support.


Licences, which override copyright law, apply to most of the Library's online content, such as articles, streaming videos, and e-books.

While copyright subsists in Library resources, licences are used to control access to, and use of, almost all of the Library's online content. Most licenses specify that resources can only be used for educational, research, or personal use.

Most of the Library's licence agreements restrict use to University staff and students, though some e-resources may also be used by other registered borrowers.

When a licence applies, the terms of use will be shown from the links called "Licensing & Resource Info" or "more info".

Find out more about the acceptable use of electronic resources: what is OK and not OK!

Why should I care?

If you are a Deakin student or staff member, you are allowed to access almost all the Library's resources, either electronic or print, free of charge.

However, you need to do this responsibly, and within the guidelines set out in the Library Conditions of use. For example:

  • when you use a book, you must not copy, print, scan, or record Library material in any manner which infringes the Copyright Act 1968 (Commonwealth)
  • if you are using electronic resources, you must be an authorised user. Material can only be used for for educational, research or personal purposes. Information must not be used for commercial purposes or re-sold in any way.

Penalties apply if these conditions are not adhered to.

You can read more information about the acceptable use of electronic resources: what is OK and not OK!

Are licence restrictions the same for all e-resources?

No. Individual licence agreements may allow you to do more things or be more restrictive.

To view conditions of use, note the database you are using, then look the resource up on the Library's catalogue and follow the links called "Licensing & Resource Info" or "more info".

I am not a Deakin student or staff member. What resources can I use?

Walk in users are welcome to enjoy our facilities, however, to borrow material you will need to Join the Library.

CAVAL, Community, and Secondary school students have limited access to some online content. For more information, see Join the Library.

What about Creative Commons? Does that mean I can use anything?

Creative Commons licences are a suite of open licenses that give users rights in relation to copyright material, under certain conditions selected by the licensor.

Want to know more about Creative Commons? See our Creative Commons web page.

I have heard about 'Open access'. What does that mean?

Some of the Library's e-resources are open access - this means they are available on the internet to anyone.

Copyright rules, however, still apply, so you need to use these resources responsibly (look for the terms of conditions that will be available somewhere on the site).

Interested in finding out more? The Library has provided more information on open access resources - this includes a list of available resources and further guidelines for use.

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