Associations and institutions are welcome to apply to become members of the ALCC.
Generally copyright is owned by the creator of the material.
Determining who owns copyright is an important part of the copyright system. In the first instance, the person who created the material is generally the copyright owned. The terminology assigned to the creator depends if the material is a work or other subject-matter.
Authors and makers
The first copyright owner of most literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works will be the author. For photographs, ‘the person who took the photograph’ is the author.
Similarly, it will be the maker who is the first copyright owner for most subject-matter other than works.
Where materials are created together by more than one author, they will co-own the copyright as joint authors. You need the permission of all joint authors to make use of the material. They even need each others’ permission before they can use it.
If work are just placed next to each other (e.g. multiple poems in an anthology) they do not become joint works. Each creator separately owns the copyright in each poem.
Situations where the author or maker is not the owner
However, there are exceptions to these general rules. The owner of copyright may be different where:
- There are multiple creators
- The material was created as part of employment
- The material was created under the terms of a contract
- The material was first published by the Crown
Material created in an employee–employer relationship
Another exception is that material created by employees as part of their employment is generally the copyright of the employer. Whether something is created as part of your employment will depend on all the facts, such as whether you were directed to make it by your employer, whether you worked on it during your working hours, and whether you used your employer’s equipment.
Created under the terms of a contract
In relation to contracting the creation of works or other subject-matter, who owns the copyright will depend on the contract. For photographs, portraits, engravings, sound recordings and cinematographic films there is a specific rule that say the person who commissioned or contracted the creation of the material owns the copyright. In other circumstances, look to the terms of the contract to determine if rights in the material created fall to the author or the contracting party.
Material first published by the Crown
Finally, in situations where material was first published by the Crown the Crown is the copyright owners of that material.