Blogging: copyright guide
Public blogging on external sites, such as Blogger.com, Wordpress.org or Typepad offer greater public exposure and a higher risk in relation to using copyright works.
Linking to and embedding someone elses content are the safest options.
The fair dealing provisions do not apply to you posting to public sites such as blogger.com, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other social media platforms. Fair dealing allows the use of copyright works by students for research and study purposes only.
The fair dealing provisions are closed provisions and only applicable whilst undertaking a course of study, or research. Copyright works (that are not Creative Commons or free licensed works), incorporated into online environments within RMIT, such as blogs or Canvas, can only remain online while you are enrolled in your course. If you are no longer enrolled, it is your responsibility to remove the works.
The fair dealing provisions allow for a ‘reasonable portion’ of a literary, dramatic or musical work to be used for research and study purposes. For artistic works, videos, film and sound recordings there is no simple defined rule as to how much you can copy for research and study purposes. Reasonable is a consideration that applies to the amount of works used as well as the nature of the use.
The fair dealing provisions require you undertake a genuine act of fair dealing - the use of the work for either research and study purposes, or criticism and review purposes.
Quoting, posting, linking and embedding
Quotes and snippets of text
You can include short text quotes from another source in your blog posts without permission from the rights holder if the quote taken is not a substantial part of the original work. Whether a quote is substantial or not is determined by its importance rather than the amount copied, so it can be difficult to quantify.
Reproducing a substantial amount requires permission. You must always attribute the author of the quote.
The safest option is to use the Creative Commons images, or images that allow reuse. Be careful when using Google to find images because you will find both copyright and Creative Commons images in search results. Instead, search Creative Commons images only.
See The Free Stuff section of our Copyright guide for sites that host either free, Creative Commons and licensed images for use.
Film, TV or YouTube videos
Most media content sites, such as news media, YouTube, Vimeo, TV and radio contain a ‘share’ or ‘embed’ option. These are the safest options to use, because the owner of the content is giving you an explicit licence to share their content. Look for and use the share or embed function for content you wish to repost.
Recording, copying, clipping, taking snippets, downloading and uploading are all risky because they could be considered infringing activities.
When using YouTube or Vimeo, only use videos that have been placed online by the copyright holder or an individual, who is authorised to do so. To find the copyright holder of the video, you need to click on details for the uploader. Always check first if the video you wish to embed is not an illegal copy of a work.
You should not post downloaded material unless:
- you have the permission of the copyright owner to do so, or
- where the licence specifically allows you to do so, such as Creative Commons.
You can link to material, unless the website explicitly states linking is not permitted (which is rare). Take care to not link to material that would reasonably be regarded as being pornographic, racially vilifying, cruel or violent, defamatory, abusive, or harassing in nature, invading or interfering the privacy of any person, or material that infringes the intellectual property rights of any person.
See The Free Stuff section of our Copyright guide for sites that host either free, Creative Commons and licensed content for use.
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