Crown use of copyright material

John Gilchrist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article examines the legal position of government in its use of copyright material it receives or deals with in the course of its work. The nature, scope and operation of the Crown use provisions in the Australian Copyright Act 1968, the extent to which licences may be implied to government to reproduce or publish copyright material it receives, and the breadth of other statutory rights held by government and their relationship to the Crown use provisions of the Copyright Act, are discussed in detail in the article. In particular, the author examines arguments for construing the Crown use provisions to complement, rather than override, the special defences to infringement such as s 40 (fair dealing for research or study) which users of copyright material may rely on generally under the Copyright Act. The author concludes that there are good reasons in law and policy for construing the Crown use provisions to complement these special defences. The author also discusses modern demands on government for the management of information brought about by increased engagement with the community online and the internal transfer of agency information. He concludes that the High Court decision in Copyright Agency Limited v New South Wales and the changing technology in the way we communicate suggest a need for an express special defence permitting certain public uses of copyright material deposited or registered in accordance with statutory obligations under State or federal law, outside the operation of the Crown use provisions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-47
Number of pages47
JournalCanberra Law Review
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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