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  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: June 2012

8 - Exploitation, infringement and defences



This chapter examines the ways in which a copyright work can be exploited. It also examines the different ways in which copyright can be infringed. This is followed by a discussion of the defences which a party may rely upon to escape liability for an act that would otherwise be infringing.


When exploiting a copyright work the owner has a number of different options. One possibility is that the owner exploits the work themselves. Another option is for the owner to sell (or assign) copyright to a third party. In this situation, ownership of the copyright work passes to the third party; the initial owner no longer has any legal interest in the copyright work. Another option is for the copyright owner to retain ownership of the work, but to allow (or license) third parties to exploit the work for them. Copyright is divisible as to the exclusive rights comprising copyright, the time of exploitation and the place of exploitation. An assignment or licence of copyright may be limited to apply to one or more of the acts that the copyright owner has the exclusive right to do: for example, it may apply to broadcasting rights, film rights or paperback reprint rights. An assignment or licence may be also limited to apply to a place in or part of Australia or other countries. Finally, an assignment or licence may be limited to apply to part of the copyright term. Thus, a licence in a work may be granted for the broadcast rights for one year in Australia only.

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