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Using Cloud Computing

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‘Cloud computing’ is a term used to describe the delivery of computing services such as software, data access and data storage facilities over the internet rather than through a personal computer or location server. This enables users to access applications and data on-demand through a web browser regardless of their physical location or device (PC, notebook, iPad or mobile phone).

It is likely that you have already used some form of cloud computing. Web-based email services like Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail and Gmail, are common examples of cloud computing. The email service is not attached to any computer, but exists virtually and can be accessed remotely at anytime.  Another example of a cloud service is Google Docs. It allows users to create, edit, store and share documents in real time online.

Cloud Delivery Models

There are a number of cloud delivery models that differ depending on who can access and utilise the cloud services and infrastructure. For example, some clouds will only be available for use by one organisation (private/internal cloud) while others will be shared with other organisations and/or members of the public (public cloud). Microsoft, Amazon and Google provide public cloud services. A combination of a public and private cloud can also exist and is known as a hybrid cloud. 

Cloud and Copyright

Cloud computing is not dissimilar to many digital products already used in schools and TAFE. Such technologies include intranets, content/learning management systems and media libraries.  Indeed, many of these products can be accessed remotely by teachers and students through a web browser. While the IT infrastructure behind these services may vary, these technologies all provide a digital space where content can be stored, accessed and shared amongst a group of people. To this degree, they are the same and can be collectively referred to as ‘digital content repositories’. Smartcopying contains a manual on the copyright implications of digital content repositories:

  1. Schools: ‘Using Digital Content Repositories: Copyright Compliance Manual for Schools’
  2. School Authorities:
  3. TAFE institutes: ‘Using Digital Content Repositories: Copyright Compliance Manual for TAFE’

This information sheet should be read in conjunction with this copyright compliance manual.

Using Digital Content Repositories

Using digital content repositories usually involves two copyright activities; copying and communicating material. A communication of material occurs when it is made available online.

There are special licences and exceptions in the Australian Copyright Act 1968 that allow teachers to copy and communicate other people’s copyright material on digital repositories. In order to determine whether these licences and exceptions apply to your use, you will first need to determine copyright ownership in the content.

Original Material

If you are using material that:

  1. Is your own original work created in the course of your employment and does not contain any material created by a person who is not an employee of your department/administering body; or
  2. Was developed by your department/administering body and does not contain material that was created by a person who is not an employee of the department/administering body

you do not need to rely on the special provisions in the Copyright Act to use this material. This is because the department/administering body owns the copyright in this material.

However, you must always label the material properly. For example, if it is your own original work created in the course of your employment, you must include details of your school/TAFE, year and the department/administering body.

eg.  Created by Mount Pritchard Public School, NSW Department of Education and Training, 2009

If the material is from the department/administering body, you must state that the material was created by the department/administering body, where it was sourced from and when it was sourced.

eg.  Created by the Catholic Education Commission NSW, accessed through the Commission’s intranet, 2009

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