You are here: NTLawHbk » Joint ownership
-- JonathanMo - 14 Sep 2015

Joint ownership

Copyright in a work can be held jointly where the individual contributions of each creator cannot be distinguished. A group of people writing/preparing a play would be an example. In such cases, the CA assumes that each creator has an equal share of rights in the creation. The phrase 'work of joint authorship' is defined in section 10(1) of the CA, to mean 'a work that has been produced by the collaboration of two or more authors and in which the contribution of each author is not separate from the contribution of the other author or the contributions of the other authors'.

Accordingly, a joint owner must obtain the permission of all other joint owners to exercise their ownership rights; no single creator can exercise rights without the consent of the other(s). However, the share can be varied if all joint owners agree that some have contributed more than others [CA s.10(1)]. See Prior v Landsdowne Press Pty Ltd [1975] VR 65; (1975) 29 FLR 59; 12 ALR 685.

In all situations where a group of people are participating in a collaborative project, it is advisable to set out a written agreement clarifying questions of ownership and the rights and conditions of exploitation of any work produced.

If different parts of a work, such as the music, lyrics or choreography of a play, can be clearly identified as the work of different individuals, copyright in each part resides with each individual.

This site is powered by FoswikiCopyright © by the contributing authors. All material on this collaboration platform is the property of the contributing authors.
Ideas, requests, problems regarding AustLII Communities? Send feedback
This website is using cookies. More info. That's Fine