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Flexible Dealing

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The Copyright Amendment Act 2006 introduced an important new exception for Australian schools which allows Australian teachers to use copyright materials for free in narrow circumstances for the purposes of educational instruction (section 200AB of the Copyright Act).

Section 200AB is different to other exceptions in the Copyright Act because it does not specify exactly which copyright uses will and won't be permitted. Instead, it sets out a number of rules which teachers must use to decide whether a particular use of copyright material will be allowed.

This fact sheet explains how teachers can decide whether or not a particular use of copyright material may be permitted by section 200AB. The fact sheet is in three

  1. Some common uses of copyright material permitted by section 200AB
  2. A flow chart to help you decide whether something else you want to do with copyright material will be permitted by section 200AB.
  3. The answers to some frequently asked questions about section 200AB

Common uses of copyright material permitted by section 200AB

Some common uses of copyright material in Australian schools will be permitted by section 200AB, such as:

  • making a captioned version of a film for hearing impaired students when it is not possible to buy a captioned version of the film and you need to show the film in class
  • converting 8-track or VHS tapes to DVD where it is not possible to buy a DVD of that film and the DVD is needed for teaching purposes
  • copying a small extract of audiovisual material on a CD-Rom to disc or PowerPoint for classroom display
  • compiling short extracts of audio-visual material for use in class (such as making a DVD of short extracts of several films for an English class) when it is not possible to buy a similar teaching resource
  • copying a French language song that is not available for purchase in digital format to a digital file for inclusion in a podcast for a French language class
  • including short extracts of music in PowerPoint teaching aids
  • translating an extract of an Australian novel into Japanese (where you cannot buy a copy in Japanese) for use in a Japanese language class
  • staging a free practice performance of a play on a drama syllabus for family and friends to allow drama students to practice for a performance assessment
  • preparing an arrangement of a musical work for students to perform in a music class when you cannot buy the arrangement you need
  • making a three-dimensional sculpture of an image as part of an art class exercise.

Note: If a work is protected by a copyright protection technology, you may not be able to copy material under this exception. It is not permissible to circumvent an access control TPM such as CSS on DVDs. For more information, see information sheet “Copyright Protection Measures and the Copyright Amendment Act 2006”.

Note: These examples assume that the source copy of all materials has been legitimately acquired by the school.

If you are unsure about whether your use is permitted, you should contact your local copyright manager.

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Frequently asked questions

  1. Who can use section 200AB?
  1. Teachers and staff in schools or school administrations (such as an education department or Catholic Education Office), provided the use is for educational instruction.

  1. When can I use section 200AB?
  1. You can only use section 200AB where another educational exception or statutory licence in the Copyright Act does not apply to what you want to do.

    For example, if you want to make a scanned copy of a photograph, as this is covered by the statutory licence in Part VB of the Act section 200AB will not apply to you. However, if you want to copy an extract of a movie, this activity is not covered by another exception or statutory licence so your copying may be allowed under section 200AB. For more information on what copyright uses are covered by other licences or exceptions, see the National Copyright Guidelines.

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  1. If I am a teacher does section 200AB automatically apply to me?
  1. No. There are five rules that apply to section 200AB:

    1. You must be using the copyright material for the purposes of giving educational instruction
    2. Your use must be non-commercial.
    3. The circumstances of your use must be a special case.
    4. Your use must not conflict with the normal exploitation of the copyright material you are using.
    5. Your use must not unreasonably prejudice the copyright owner.

    See other frequently asked questions for more information about the words in italics.

  1. What types of copyright material does section 200AB cover?
  1. All types of material.

    This means that section 200AB may apply to all types of copyright material in hard copy and digital formats – text based works (such as books, plays, journals and newspapers), artistic works (such as cartoons, photos and illustrations), musical works (such as sheet music and scores), sound recordings (such as music CDs), television and radio broadcasts and films.

  1. What does section 200AB allow me to do with copyright material?
  1. Section 200AB applies to all of the rights owned by a copyright owner. This means that section 200AB may let teachers copy and communicate (eg, email or upload to the intranet), as well as make an adaptation of a work (eg, translate from one language to another), publish or perform the material in public.

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