The flexible dealing exception set out in s200AB of the Australian Copyright Act 1968. Section 200AB(2) permits any dealing with copyright material that is made on the behalf of a library, archive and other collecting institution and that is:

  • for the purpose of maintaining or operating the library or archives (including operating the library or archives to provide services of a kind usually provided by a library or archives);
  • not made partly for the purpose of the body obtaining a commercial advantage or profit;
  • does not conflict with a normal exploitation of the work or other subject‑matter;
  • does not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the owner of the copyright; and
  • is a special case

For more information on the application of the exception, see the Australian Digital Alliances Flexible Dealing Handbook

Creative Commons
Creative Commons is an international non-profit that that provides free licences and tools that copyright owners can use to allow others to share, reuse and remix their material, legally.
Creative Commons builds upon the “all rights reserved” of traditional copyright to create a voluntary “some rights reserved” system. It offers a range of licences that creators can use to manage their copyright in the online environment, each with its own specific protections and freedoms, but all of them making the material available on more permissive terms than default copyright law. This creates a pool of material that can be legally reused without the need to ask the copyright owner for permission. There are currently more than 250 million works available online under the Creative Commons licences.
The Creative Commons Australia website provides more information about the licences, the philosophy and how to find material.

Open access
‘Open access’ has many different interpretations internationally. However, for the purposes of this paper, we are using the term ‘open access’ to mean permissive licensing policies that encourage the greatest possible public reuse of material. Open access models use licences and terms of use to give permission in advance for certain uses of material, without requiring users to contact the institution or copyright owner directly for permission. At a minimum, open access policies tend to allow reproduction and distribution of material.

Orphan work
The Australian Copyright Council defines an orphan work as a work “that is protected by copyright but for which the owner cannot be identified and/or located. This creates problems for those wishing to reuse the work, as it makes it impossible to obtain permission from the copyright owners. The orphan work problem is exacerbated by the fact that lack of information means that in many cases it is difficult or impossible to even determine whether the work is still protected by copyright. The high occurrence of orphan works in most institutional collections presents a significant barrier to large-scale digitisation and access projects. For more information, see the Library of Congress’ Report on Orphan Works (2006).

Public domain
The term ‘public domain’ is used by different people in different ways. However, for the purpose of this paper we are using it in its legal form ie to mean material that is not covered by copyright and so can be reused without legal restriction. This will most commonly occur when the copyright protection for a work expires.
Copyright only lasts for a set period of time. Once copyright in a work ends it enters the public domain and can be legally used for any purpose without limitation. Determining definitively whether a work is in the public domain can often be extremely difficult, due primarily to the complexity of the law regarding the term of copyright and a lack of information on the origins of many works. However, there are large categories of works which are likely to be in the public domain eg photographs taken before 1955 and works by authors who died before 1955. For more information about what works may be in the public domain in Australia see the Australian Copyright Council’s information sheet Works in the public domain in Australia.

Any item that is made available for public reuse by an institution, usually online. This may include, for example, digitised collection items, policy documents, educational materials, interactive programs, videos, photographs and other online materials owned or managed by the institution.

The ability to make use of an item beyond merely viewing or accessing it. At a minimum, it includes the right to copy and download a work for personal use, although it may also extend to its adaptation (eg remixing), distribution or commercial use. For example, the statement “resources should be made available for free and permissive reuse unless there is a justifiable reason why they should not” is intended to mean that users should be given the maximum legal right to use an item - including copying, downloading, distributing and adapting it - that is reasonable in the circumstances.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License