Plagiarism is a serious problem that can lead to severe penalties under Australian law. If someone is found to have committed plagiarism, the owner or original writer of the content can take legal action. Once something is published, it is protected under copyright law for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years.
Copyright Act of 1968
In the Copyright Act of 1968, the Australian Court ruled that content becomes copyrighted as soon as it is produced. There is not any kind of copyright registration needed in order to protect writings as specified under this act.
The owner of the content is the only person who is allowed to reproduce the material in any manner. Other people are able to publish the writings, but only with the permission of the author. Additionally, the owner is the only person who is allowed to recite the material in public, communicate it via the media or make any translated, dramatized or pictorial versions of the original published work.
Oftentimes, writers will use a pen name to hide their true identity. Plagiarism laws still protect the reproduction or infringement of the work. However, the span of protection may only be 70 years as opposed to the life of the author plus 70 years if the author's true identity is not disclosed.
If a work's original author is called into question, it may need to be handled by the courts. Both parties will present evidence in an attempt to prove that ownership. Typically, the most important form of evidence is oral reporting, previous drafts and other materials used in the creation of the work.
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