Flexible Dealing

Section 200AB

This copyright exception may be relied upon for maintaining or operating a library or archives; giving educational instruction; and obtaining a copy of material in a form which assists a person with a disability. It enables copyright material to be used for certain socially useful purposes while remaining consistent with Australia's obligations under international copyright treaties.

The use must not be made for the purpose of obtaining a commercial advantage or profit. It must also:

  • amount to a special case
  • not conflict with a normal exploitation of a work
  • not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the owner of the copyright.

Importantly, the new exception is not available if another exception or statutory licence applies to the use (or could apply, if the conditions were met). So if, for example, a use already fits under Part VA or Part VB of the Copyright Act, the new provision may not be applied.

Here are some activities that may now be covered by this new flexible dealing or special case exception:

  • The library can convert an educational resource from a VHS to a DVD, provided that a DVD of the resource is not commercially available
  • A captioned version of a DVD can be created for playing to a class that includes students with hearing impairment, if a captioned version of the DVD is not commercially available
  • A lecturer can download a podcast to play in the lecture theatre, provided that the podcast is made available for free. Note that if the podcast was originally broadcast on radio or TV, the Statutory Licence still applies
  • A lecturer can translate an extract of an Australian novel into Indonesia (where an Indonesian copy is not available for purchase) for use in a language tutorial.

If you believe this flexible dealing provision may be of use to you, please contact the Copyright Office in the first instance.