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February 2021                                         Issue 1


The National Copyright Unit (NCU) is a specialised unit that provides copyright assistance and advice to all Australian government and non-government schools as well as TAFE institutes (excluding Victorian TAFEs) in Australia.

NCU acts on behalf of the Copyright Advisory Group (CAG), which reports to the Education Council. CAG’s committee members are senior representatives from State and Territory Departments of Education, the Catholic and Independent school sectors, and TAFEs nationally (excluding Victorian TAFEs). The NCU:

  • provides specialist copyright assistance to schools and TAFEs;
  • negotiates and administers the School and TAFE sectors licences with Australian Collecting Societies and related copyright surveys; and
  • advocates for copyright law reform benefitting education.

See our website at

Using storybooks

Storytime is an important part of student learning, development and connection.

Many teachers made recordings of themselves reading books and teaching students during periods of remote learning in 2020. Generally, there were two types of recordings made by teachers:
  1. ‘Virtual storytimes’ (where a teacher did no more than read aloud an entire storybook). These recordings were made under the temporary Storytime Agreement, which expired on 31 December 2020. Any recording made under the Storytime Agreement must be deleted as the agreement has now expired. This includes ensuring that any recordings posted on social media (for example a school Facebook or YouTube page), as well as password protected platforms (eg Google Classroom or your school LMS), are removed.
  1. Teaching activities (where teachers may have read some materials from a book, or even read out a whole story, but included commentary, observations, annotations, questions to students about the book or other teaching activities). These recordings were made in reliance on the educational use provisions in the Copyright Act. If the recordings were integrated with teaching activities, schools do not need to delete these resources, however, they should disable access to them (ie archive them) when they are not required for educational purposes (eg if the school is back to normal teaching).

Can we still read books to students online in 2021?

Yes, as long as:
  • you live stream the story time, not record it;
  • the story time is held for educational instruction (for example, as part of a lesson);
  • the teacher is physically present on school premises at the time of the lesson; and
  • the audience is limited to staff and students of the school.
Can we make new story book recordings in 2021?

There is no general permission to make story book recordings, although there may be some circumstances where this is okay. If a school wishes to make a new recording and is unsure, they should contact NCU and we can assess their particular case.

Expression of interest for future NCU research

From time to time, the National Copyright Unit conducts research to help us in our advice, education and other support services to schools and TAFEs.
If you are willing to be contacted by the NCU for future research purposes, please complete this short questionnaire and a member of the NCU team may contact you for a short discussion.

Free copyright webinars

NCU is running a series of free copyright webinars for schools and TAFEs.

These free webinars are open to all Australian schools and TAFEs (excluding Victorian TAFEs) and are targeted to teachers and teacher-librarians/librarians. See for details and to register.

Additional information

The purpose of this update is to provide a summary and general overview of selected copyright issues.  It is not intended to be comprehensive nor does it constitute legal advice.  If you need to know how the law applies in a particular situation, please get advice from the National Copyright Unit. For information about our National Seminar Series and Copyright for Educators (C4E) course, please visit the Smartcopying website.
This copyright update is is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence.  
Creative Commons License
We request attribution as:  National Copyright Unit, Copyright Advisory Groups (Schools and TAFEs)
This e-newsletter has been produced by the National Copyright Unit on behalf of the Copyright Advisory Groups (Schools and TAFEs).

Our mailing address is:
National Copyright Unit, Copyright Advisory Groups (Schools and TAFEs), Level 7, 105 Phillip Street, Parramatta, 2150, NSW

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