General information regarding copyright

Lutheran Education Australia’s eLibrary has been set up to enable the sharing of resources among and between schools and regional offices. This page provides information about some of the checking and authorisation procedures to be completed before material is included.


Copyright – an introduction

Copyright law protects authors and publishers. In general, anyone who performs, copies or disseminates published works must first acquire permission to do so. Under special arrangements, schools are allowed to make ‘fair use’ of materials for instructional purposes. Fair use is interpreted as those limited uses that are not likely to deprive a publisher or author from income. This usually occurs through licensing agreements with agencies such as:


  • Copyright Agency Limited –CAL
  • Australasian Music Copyright Owners Society – AMCOS
  • Australia Record Industry Association – ARIA
  • Christian Copyright Licensing International – CCLI for music, lyrics, audio & video recording
  • Phonographic Performance Company of Australia – PPCA
  • Visual Arts – VISCOPY

The National Education Access Licence for Schools (NEALS) commenced on June 6 2006. NEALS is a licence between education departments of the various states and territories as well as the independent and catholic sector schools. It allows government and non-government schools, which are members of the agreement, to copy and communicate material for educational use free of charge from each other’s websites and publications.


These licences, while quite comprehensive, do not necessarily cover all the situations that arise in a school. They define a set of rights to undertake certain activities within certain boundaries. Activities outside of these boundaries require schools to obtain additional licences or to seek permission from the copyright owner.


There are still copyright restrictions on the extent to which work can be ‘shared’ and it is illegal to breach these whether for educational purposes or not! And while teachers may make limited use of materials within their own classrooms, loading the materials into a digital repository may require obtaining specific permission to do so.

In general: Check ‘Educational Institutions: An introduction to copyright’ information from the Australian Copyright Council (ACC) From there you can follow the links to a range of specific Information Sheets.


Is the work being submitted original, unpublished and created by an employee of the school/district in the course of their work?

If so, then the school/district owns the work.

It is recommended that the school places the NEALS logo or Free For Education logo on the material. See AEShareNet-FfE - the Free for Education instant licence

Is the work from another educational source, publicly available (ie on a website or as a print publication) and has not been specifically excluded under NEALS?

Permission should be obtained from the school before it is used. Note that WA material must be marked ‘Licensed under NEALS’

Does the material contain music?

See the ACC information sheet ‘Music use in student films and home videos’

Does the material contain artwork? (Includes drawings, paintings, photographs, logos, diagrams)

See the ACC information sheet ‘Artworks and copyright’ and also ‘Artworks – Getting permission’

Does the material contain maps or charts?

See the ACC information sheet ‘Maps and Charts’

Does the material contain films or film clips?

See the ACC information sheet ‘Film’

Does the material contain pod casts?

Only two kinds of podcasts can be included:

Podcasts which carry an ‘AEShareNet’ or ‘Creative Commons’, the Learning Federation or other ‘Free for Education’ licence Podcasts that are made by the school

Include source of podcast Obtain the permission of parents for all students appearing in that podcast. Include a copy of a licence granted by the Local Copyright Manager for any music tracks used in the podcast or a statement that verifies that the music was obtained from a free music software programme (like ‘Garage Band 3’ or ‘Monaco’). Appropriate ‘credit’ given to the copyright owner (author and school)

Does the material contain quotes or excerpts? See the ACC information sheet ‘Quotes or excerpts: copyright permission’

If excerpts from published work are used schools are allowed to use up to 10% of the work for educational purposes under CAL licensing agreements. However, the Google library case would indicate that for a digital repository, a ‘snippet’, that is 2 or 3 sentences is a safer maximum legal use.

Limit excerpts to 2-3 sentences