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Intellectual property policy

The Whole of Victorian Government Intellectual Property Policy Intent and Principles (IP Policy) is the State's framework for the ownership and management of its intellectual property (IP), and for its use of IP belonging to other parties. The IP Policy is supported by Guidelines to assist the VPS with the Policy’s implementation.

The IP Policy intent is that:

  • the State grants rights to its intellectual property, as a public asset, in a manner that maximises its impact, value, accessibility and benefit consistent with the public interest; and
  • the State acquires or uses third party intellectual property in a transparent and efficient way, while upholding the law and managing risk appropriately. 

The IP Policy includes important principles dealing with management of IP, commercialisation, procurement and other matters. The IP Policy emphasises the importance of granting rights to State IP in a flexible manner. 

Guidelines are provided to assist with implementation of the IP Policy and cover important topics such as Creative Commons licensing, procurement and commercialisation. 

To request further information or training, contact

Government statutory licence scheme

The Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) affords the State a statutory licence to use third party works for the services of the Crown.

Section 183(1) (“the government statutory licence scheme”) provides that the copyright in a work or other subject matter is not infringed by the State, or an authorised person, doing any acts comprised in the copyright if the acts are done for the services of the State. 

Under this statutory licensing scheme, the State must either:

  • inform the copyright owner of the use and agree terms with the owner for the use, or
  • in the case of reproductions (government copies), where a declared collecting society is operating, pay “equitable remuneration” to the collecting society in relation to those reproductions (section 183A).

Under s183A of the Copyright Act the State is required to reach agreements with the following collecting societies:

  • Copyright Agency Limited– for copies of works (for example, newspaper articles, journal articles and books); and
  • Screenrights – for copies of audio visual material, and works included in audio visual material, made from a communication to the public or from a copy of a communication to the public.

All departments and many statutory bodies are subject to the agreements with the collecting societies. Those bodies may make copies of third party copyright material as long as those copies are for the services of the State. Additionally Copyright Agency licenses, as agent for its members, the communication and sharing of certain material internal to government. Payment under the agreements is calculated on a per‑FTE per year basis at an agreed rate.

Refer to the fact sheets on using third party copyright material and the State’s agreements with Screenrights and Copyright Agency below to learn more.

Note, there are other uses of copyright material aside from copying that are not always captured by the agreements under s 183A of the Copyright Act which must be paid for. Refer to the IP Guidelines above for more detail.


Review of Code of Conduct for Copyright Collecting Societies

The Federal Government has announced a review of the Code of Conduct for Collecting Societies by the Commonwealth Department of Communications, in consultation with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.  Details of the review can be found at

Creative Commons implementation

Consistent with the IP Policy and the Victorian Auditor General’s recommendations to improve Access to Public Sector Information, Victorian departments and agencies are encouraged to apply Creative Commons 4.0 licences to their websites, publications and to other material provided to the public. Refer to Chapter 5 of the IP Guidelines for further information on applying Creative Commons copyright notices or to seek support from DTF contact

Screenrights – revised declaration

On 16 October 2015, the Copyright Tribunal approved Screenrights’ application to expand its declaration for government copying to include copying of AV material from the internet.  

For many years, Screenrights has collected for government copies of broadcasts, but increasingly AV material is being made available online. By expanding the declaration, Screenrights licence for government maintains its relevance and opens new areas of content for government’s use under a collective agreement. Victoria and other States are in negotiations with Screenrights for an agreement to cover these work.

IP in procurement

The Victorian Government Purchasing Board (VGPB) and DTF Legal have updated all VGPB standard contract templates to reflect current legislative change and provide more flexibility with regard to IP arrangements.

Please refer to the Buying for Victoria website for your updated version.

DTF has previously published a fact sheet below with general guidance on intellectual property in procurement.

Reviewed 27/05/2020
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