Copyright & moral rights
Authors and Self-Publishing

With the rise of e-books and the popularity of self-publishing, there are now companies that offer self-publishing services such as editing, proofing, and design.If you're feeling like you want more information on the legal issues around this, this information sheet is for you.

Competition conditions

This information sheet considers some issues you should consider before entering creative competitions.

Computer Game Design and Development

Creating games raises a myriad of legal issues. Learn how to protect rights and when to use our sample agreements Game Development Services Agreement, Game Loan Agreement, Music Commission Agreement for Games and Music Licence for Games.

Computer Games - legal issues for creative designers

This information sheet addresses legal issues that can arise when creating computer games, including the copyright in the various elements that make up a computer game such as the artistic works and the computer programs that operate the game. The discussion of copyright covers the use of ‘authoring’ programs and the need for games developers to have appropriate contracts with employees, independent contractors or unpaid volunteers.

This information sheet also discusses copyright in ‘user generated content’ and how ownership of ‘user generated content’, ‘End User Licence Agreements’ (EULAs) and the ‘terms of use’ of a Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game (MMORG).

Arts Law has a suite of agreements suitable for games design and development here.


Copyright provides a way for artists to protect and monetise their creativity. Knowing how to license copyright and earn a royalty gives artists a way to make money from their work. This information sheet will introduce you to some of the copyright basics.

Copyright Collecting Societies

Collecting societies collect royalties on behalf of their members. Members are artists, authors, musicians and other owners of copyright in works (such as lyrics, visual art and literature) or other copyright material (such as sound recordings, films, and television broadcasts). 

Copyright Infringement

Learn what copyright infringement looks like and what steps you can take if you think you're copyright has been infringed.

Copyright Licensing for Art Centres & IP Licensing Toolkit

This information sheet explains how art centres can systematically manage copyright licensing requests for the use of artists’ work and describes the various sample agreements contained in the Art Centre Intellectual Property Licensing Toolkit. It can be used in conjunction with the suggested Copyright Licence Fee Schedules (only available in the IP Licensing Toolkit)

Creative Commons

Creative Commons (CC) is a non-profit organisation which provides a set of free, generic licences which creators of intellectual property can use to distribute their work to the public digitally. It was launched in the United States in 2001 founded on the concept that people can contribute to a shared 'commons' of creative works by effectively giving up certain rights in a copyright work and allowing others freely to use, adapt, modify and distribute this work.

Design Checklist

This checklist is designed to help you, the maker, have better and more complete contracts with the people or businesses who commission you, and is a starting point for dealing with some of the key issues to be aware of when being commissioned to make pieces/works/designs for a client or customer.  

Direct Licensing Guidelines

This information sheet is for small Australian record companies and independent artists that have an input agreement with the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA). All record companies and independent artists that are PPCA licensors must have direct licensing guidelines that outline the circumstances in which they may directly licence public performance and transmission rights for their sound recordings. This information sheet includes sample Direct Licensing Guidelines. All PPCA licensors are entitled to free legal advice from Arts Law about their guidelines and input agreements. For advice, lodge a query here.

Film competitions

Entering a film competition creates a binding contract between the film maker and the competition organiser and it is important to understand the competition’s terms and conditions. 

Legal Issues for Bloggers

Posting or publishing written work online, whether on your personal or artist website, on  social media (including Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest) or via a blog can create a number of legal issues including copyright, defamation or trade practices. This information sheet discusses some of these issues and should be read with our information sheet entitled Writers & authors: useful resources.

Licensing (AITB)

Breaking down the basics of giving permission to another group or person to do something with your work through licenses.

Media Arts (AITB)

Media art is the use of many different art forms in one work (film, photography, sound, light etc). This fact sheet provides information on the nature of copyright in media art, issues for using Indigenous arts in media art and Indigenous protocols.

Moral rights

Moral rights protect the personal relationship between a creator and their work even if the creator no longer owns the work, or the copyright in the work. Moral rights concern the creator’s right to be properly attributed or credited, and the protection of their work from derogatory treatment. 

Music Copyright and Publishing for Bands and Recording Artists

Composers, lyricists, independent recording artists and bands that own the copyright in their music can derive income through the licensing and performance of their compositions and sound recordings. This information sheet explains music copyright and royalties, the role of collecting societies such as APRA/AMCOS and PPCA, and music publishing. Sample agreements that may be relevant include Music Recording agreements guide, Music Studio Recording Agreement for Unsigned Artists and Session Musician’s release

Musicians and composers: useful resources

This information sheet lists resources, including sample agreements, which musicians, composers, songwriters and bands may find useful. It includes a brief description of the different music copyright collecting societies including APRA|AMCOS and PPCA,  the resources available on the website of the Arts Law Centre of Australia and relevant national and state music organisations.

New Media - Issues for creators working across multiple platforms

This information sheet addresses the legal issues that can arise for artists, and especially filmmakers, creating multi-platform works and provides necessary information concerning what steps can/should be taken by multi-platform creators to protect and secure their rights. 

Performers’ rights

Actors, circus performers, musicians, dancers and other live performers may have performers’ rights in their performances, read on to learn more about these rights.

Protecting your designs

Information sheet outlining how you can protect your designs under the copyright regime and the design regime.

Public Art - Design and Commissioning

Public art commissions create exciting opportunities for artists, allow Australians to enjoy aesthetically beautiful environments, and stimulate community engagement with the arts. Learn how to get the most benefit to yourself as an artist, your council and your community.

Putting Your Film or Photo Online

This information sheet outlines the legal issues artists or arts organisations should consider when planning to put films and photos online.

Social Media for Artists

The Internet provides artists with a platform to access a worldwide audience for their work.  Social media, in particular, is a ready-made do-it-yourself mechanism for distributing, promoting, exhibiting and even selling creative content whether music, visual art, film, literature or other multi-platform art forms. This information sheet addresses the legal issues that can arise for artists using social media to publish their work.

Story Telling - Legal Issues (Artists in the Black Resource)

The art of oral story telling is a fluid art form, and legal issues including copyright, moral Rights and Indigenous Cultural Intellectual Property can arise. Read on to learn more about protecting your rights in this form of story telling.

Street photographer’s rights

Can I take a photograph in public that contains images of people I don’t know? Can I take a photo of a famous landmark or of the front of someone’s house and later sell it? Read on to find out!

Takedown Notice - Copyright

This information sheet explains the purpose of a ‘takedown notice’. It includes the procedure to follow if you believe a website has breached your intellectual property rights and you want the infringing material to be taken down.

Telling people’s stories on film

Film makers sometimes choose to base their stories on real events and real people. Documentaries are one example of film makers telling the stories of real people.

Writers and authors: useful resources

This information sheet lists resources, including sample agreements, which authors, writers and illustrators may find useful. It includes a brief description of the different resources available from other useful organisations.