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Copyright for students

Top tips to avoid copyright infringement


What is torrenting?

Torrenting involves sharing files through a decentralised, peer-to-peer (P2P) sharing network, without uploading them to a server. It has frequently been associated with piracy when users have shared files that are protected by copyright, including movies, games, music and software.  UniSC can detect torrenting activity on the network, and infringement may result in student misconduct penalties. For more information on torrenting click on this website.

How to avoid copyright infringement

  • Always check licenses, terms and conditions before sharing files. 
  • Search for authorised online streaming sites e.g. ABC iview, NetFlix. 
  • Evaluate the website for authority and ownership of the file, does the site look credible?
  • If an online provider requires a membership &/or payment for downloading and streaming ensure then you must comply. 


Students can access selected programs using the Software Centre on computers in campus computer labs. Students and staff have free access to download the Microsoft Office suite of programs by clicking on this link

If you require software programs that are not available from the Software Centre please ensure you download the authorised version, and in some cases pay for the licence.  Illegal downloading of programs may infringe copyright.  

Websites and documents

Anyone can create a website and upload files to the internet, and for that reason you need to be very careful when using internet sources, including pdfs. If you find a pdf on the internet, always check that you can find the website it came from and that it is reputable. When it's from a legitimate source, you can normally cut back to the homepage URL and find where the document is available. Sometimes you might need to search to find it.

For a journal article, search the journal, see if the article is freely available and reference this source. If it isn't freely available or through the library's databases, don't use the article as it may have been uploaded illegally. Using articles from social networks can be problematic so avoid ResearchGate and other similar sites.

Always make sure you are using a credible source. To find out more about identifying a credible source, check out this guide.

How to avoid copyright infringement online

An easy way to avoid using illegal sources, is to use the library's resources. Try finding sources using the Library search, library databases or set up Google scholar to link to the library.

Print allowance

Universities have access to a statutory licence whereby staff and students can photocopy/print up to and not exceeding 10% or 1 chapter of a book for educational or research purposes.  If you create a copy or print from an eBook this is for your own personal usage and should not be shared with other students. 

Students may request one chapter or 10% of a book to be copied and provided by library staff.  This is not in addition to any personal copies made.  In total only one chapter/10% may be copied either as a personal copy or request by library staff. 

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