The Fair Dealing sections of the Copyright Act 1968 permit the copying of a reasonable portion of works for some specific purposes. These are:

  • research or study
  • criticism or review
  • reporting of news
  • provision of professional legal advice (Australian Copyright Council, 2005 p.2).

The Act defines the following reasonable portions as fair:

Text published as an edition of 10 or more pages Text published in electronic form Newspaper, magazine or journal
10% of the number of pages. 10% of the number of words. One article per issue, or multiple articles from the same issue if each article relates to the same subject matter.

If the work is divided into chapters, it is fair to reproduce one chapter.

For other non-text based material, such as music, images, photographs and films, the Act does not state how much you may reproduce without permission. To be safe, it is best to seek permission from the creators of these works before using them.

musical score


Note: The fair dealing provisions relates to copying by individuals for personal use. Reproduction for commercial purposes is not allowed under the provision.

Further information on copyright and fair dealing

Remember, if you are using material in Australia, then Australian copyright law applies. However, it is important to remember that other countries have different copyright laws which apply if you are working or studying in that country.

Note: The Australia / United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA) resulted in changes to copyright law from 1 January 2005.


Australian Copyright Council. (2005). Fair dealing. Retrieved February 17, 2006, from http://www.copyright.org.au/admin/cms-acc1/_images/8452777034d001ee11eb7c.pdf
Image:Salvatore Vuono/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.