5 Basic Things An RTO Accountant Should Know About Copyrights

May 26, 2021    rtoadvisoryperth

If you own an RTO, then you need to deliver top-quality vocational education and training. You will undoubtedly need to have access to various resources like textbooks, newspapers, journals, and websites. You have to use also the information from these sources. But, there is a problem. There often lies an enormous uncertainty around which pieces of information you can legally use. And here come the barriers to using copyrighted materials. This article discusses 5 things you have to consider when you copy or share the copyrighted material for academic reasons.

1. You cannot copy from a copyrighted work without prior permission or a proper license

Most works you find on the internet are covered by copyright. If your teaching staff wants to copy or share relevant text, graphs, tables, or photos made by other people, they will have to take permission from the copyright owner, and only after that will they be able to do what they want.  

According to the copyright law of Australia, you can use a maximum of 10% of your work without any permission. But this will also be applicable in exceptional cases, which may be research or study. In a word, 10% use is allowed exclusively for academic purposes. But, educators are exempt from this protocol. The only way you can use this is by obtaining permission from the owner of the copyright. Apart from getting approval, another way by which you can access it is if your organisation has coverage under the statutory education copyright license. We will discuss the license more a little later.

Nevertheless, suppose you want to use even a very tiny part of a work by someone else. In that case, you will need to get permission if that very part is integral and have high importance and created by someone using customised skills and sufficient time.

2. Internet content is not at all free to use

With a high-speed internet connection, you perhaps download, share, copy, or email news articles, graphics and photographs quite easily, with just one touch of a button, right? You may feel thrilled to get all these necessary data for use in your educational projects. Well, the thing is not that easy as you think. Although these works are easily available on the internet, they are all protected by copyright. According to Australian law, a written or artistic creation can become copyright-protected automatically, from the moment someone creates or fixes them online or offline.

Whenever you visit a website, information about a copyright notice or the terms of use will catch your eyes. Such information is given to make you understand what content you can use and what you cannot. Even if you find no mention of terms of use, you must know that any internet content is copyright-protected, just like other contents have copyright protection.

3. Giving credit to the content creator while using their creation is not enough

You may think, what if I give due credits to the content creator when using their work? Well, that is not enough, too. Let us check what the ‘moral rights’ provisions in the Copyright Act 1969 say.

  • First of all, you should give credit to the creator of the content you are using except that it is not reasonable or if the author has given consent not to provide the credit.
  • You should never give credit to the wrong person, i.e., who is not the actual creator.
  • Do not try to incur changes or additions to various works tagged as ‘derogatory’ without any proper reason.

Now, only crediting is not sufficient every time. Whenever you are using someone’s works, you will also need to address his or her economic rights. Sometimes, the copyright owner may demand payment, too, besides a credit. It will depend on how you are using the work. Reputed RTO Consulting Services can give you valuable suggestions on this.

4. It is RTO’s responsibility to ensure copyright compliance of all the employees

As the owner, you will become responsible for ensuring that your permanent staff and other casual employees use all the content only after obtaining prior permission or the license. Content may range from textbooks to other digital resources like blogs or webzines. As the owner, you will want to avoid copyright breaches, and for that, you can do the following.

  • You should keep monitoring which materials your staff members are using in all classes regularly.
  • Suppose you want to use a copyrighted work available on the internet. In that case, you must find and contact the corresponding publisher to get the necessary permission every time you need to use the part of their content.
  • You have to arrange for the payment of a license fee.

A new type of license has come to the market, known as ‘blanket’ licenses. It helps an educational organisation avoid copyright risks and enhance workflows. Under this license, you will get coverage for the whole institution, and your staff members will be allowed for immediate use of material from any source. Thus you will be able to give students a broad range of content and other additional study materials that you perhaps buy from any third-party supplier. 

5. You should know about ‘blanket’ copyright licenses

The Australian Government had appointed a copyright Agency to manage the education copying scheme (known as Statutory Education License). This same scheme issues a blanket license. It allows the educational institutions to copy text shared image files for academic purposes in such a manner that would have required permission. But you have to maintain that there is fair compensation to the content creators. You will be glad to hear that Copyright Agency has now made arrangements with various schools and colleges and individual agreements with private education service providers like training arms, community colleges, and obviously, RTOs.


Want to know how Statutory Education License can provide help to your RTO? Then, you may contact RTO Accountant Perth, who have some top-graded professionals to provide valuable guidance.

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