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Module 3: Copyright for your Studies


What do you think?

Carmen is a film studies student and is working on her assessment task.

She is writing a blog post comparing the Lord of the Rings movies to the original book.

Can she include parts of the film in the blog?



I can use someone else's stuff as long as I credit them.

Fair dealing

Module 2: Using Copyright discussed lots of ways you can use other people’s material in your own works. If you are copying substantial portions of copyright protected works without permission, you’ll need to decide if your use is within the private study exception (fair dealing for the purposes of research or study). The private study exception covers many, but not all, types of assessment tasks. If your use involves communication to people outside your unit, then the private study exception will not apply, and you will need to fit your use within a different purpose.

Fair dealing uses

When copying other peoples’ work into your own, consider these two copyright exceptions:

If you are copying substantial portions of copyright without permission, you need to consider whether you are doing it for public or private use.


  • Fair dealing for the purposes of research or study (private copying) : This exception covers you for fair dealing of content for inclusion in your assessments, theses or as part of your background research or study. It also covers fair copying of material for researching hobbies and private interests. This exception applies for private and internal uses of copyright works contained in your assessments. This exception cannot apply to any further or public use of your work while it still contains other people’s copyright.  
  • Fair dealing for the purposes of criticism or review (private and public copying) : This exception covers your fair dealing of material where you need to publish or communicate your work, such as on the internet or in a presentation. Material that is copied to judge or evaluate a work, topic or idea could fall into this purpose. However, you cannot rely on these provisions if you are only including the external material to enhance, supplement or illustrate your own work.  



Fair dealing for the purposes of research or study (private copying)

An essay that you submit directly to your unit chair will be for the purposes of research or study. Posting your essay publicly on the internet is not research or study. 

Fair dealing for the purposes of criticism or review (private and public copying)

If you are copying images to make a blog post more visually interesting, this will not be for the purposes of criticism or review. The image would need to relate to the argument of your blog post before this exception could cover your use.




In either case, your dealing will still need to be fair. To better understand what is fair, visit Module 2: Using Copyright

Student work that is publicly available

There are instances when student work is publicly available. This could include exhibitions, screenings, websites or e-portfolios. These are different as the material is no longer closed off to a limited audience (e.g. via a Deakin unit site) but is now open to the public.

Before you share publicly ask yourself:

  • Have you used the works of others?
  • If so, do you have their permission to share publicly
  • Or, is it fair? And for the purpose of criticism or review?

If your planned use is considered public and contains the works of others, you will need to think carefully about how to share your work legally.


What do you think now?

Do you think Carmen can include parts of the film in her blog?

If her blog is private, then it will fall under the research and study exception. If Carmen's blog is public then she can use the criticism and review exception. However, to answer this question Carmen needs to determine whether her use is fair. If she only uses a small or insubstantial portion then the answer is yes.


Subjects: All guides