Legal notes to copyright registration in Australia

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Copyright registration in Australia. Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. Australia is a highly developed country with a high-income economy; it has the world’s twelfth-largest economy, tenth-highest per capita income, and eighth-highest Human Development Index. Australia is a regional power and has the world’s thirteenth-highest military expenditure. Accordingly, many businesses want to enter this market and one of the most important preparations a business needs to take before expanding to this country is to learn information about copyright registration in Australia.

Copyright in Australia

Unlike other intellectual property rights such as trademarks, patents, industrial designs, plant varieties, etc., copyright does not need to be registered for protection but will be automatically protected from the time the works are created in a certain material form, regardless of content, quality, form, medium, language, published or unpublished, registered or unregistered.

Accordingly, whether registered or not, the copyright to the work will still be protected. However, copyright registration is still advised because early registration will give the author/owner of the work many advantages in the event of a dispute.

When unauthorized use of work occurs around the world, the owner of a work who has registered copyright in advance will not have to waste time and complicate matters with proving himself/herself to be the legitimate owner of the work.

Thereby, in order to avoid passivity, the owner of the work should make a copyright registration to protect their rights and interests when there is an infringement.

Copyright registration in Australia

Australia is a member country of The Berne Convention for Copyright since 1928.

The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (the Berne Convention) is an international agreement governing copyright. The agreement was first accepted in Berne, Switzerland, in 1886.

As Australia is a contracting party of the Berne Convention, any work originating in Australia will be given the same copyright protection in each of the Berne Convention member countries. The original from Australia can be that the work is made and published for the first time in this country or if the author of the work is of Australia ethnicity.

While in other countries, copyright protection is automatic as soon as the work existed in material form, registering for copyright in Australia is critical in order for the copyright owner to obtain evidence of copyright.

Evidence of copyright is extremely important even when copyright is obtained automatically.

When registering, the work – the subject matter of the application gets a date and a time stamp recorded, as well as information about the work and proof of work concept and development. This provides unambiguous proof of authorship and ownership that can’t be denied.

Proof of copyright is essential in an age when the publishing, dissemination, and theft of material is extremely easy with the exposure of the Internet.

If copyright registration is not made, copyright owners will lose a significantly big amount of money and time attempting to fight copyright issues and prove ownership of the original work.

Documents for copyright registration in Australia

To register for copyright protection in Australia, the author needs to prepare the following documents:

  • Declaration of copyright registration;
  • Two copies of copyrighted work;
  • Documents proving the right to apply;
  • Written consent of co-authors, if the work has co-authors;
  • Written consent of the co-owners, if the copyright is jointly owned;
  • Notarized identity card of the author or owner of the work;
  • Power of Attorney, if the applicant is an authorized person;
  • Notarized copy of the company’s business registration certificate (if the owner is a company).

The copyright law of Australia

The Australia Copyright Act 1968 stipulates that certain forms of expression, such as text, images, and music, are automatically registered when the idea of that work came into existence in a physical form.

Until 2004, copyright in Australia was based on the “plus 50” law which restricts works until 50 years after the author’s death. In 2004 this was changed to a “plus 70” law in line with the USA and European Union, but this change was not made retroactive.

Regarding important changes to copyright, there is the Copyright Amendment Act 2006 and the 2016 amendment to include digital formats.

Australia is also a member of the Copyright Agency and Viscopy agreement.

You can see a list of Australia IP firms here.

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