Student Handbook


Copyright is a legal right that allows the person or organisation which owns it to control certain uses of particular kinds of material, generally for a limited time. Material protected by copyright includes the following: articles and books, song lyrics, music, audio-recordings, photographs, drawings, artworks on movie posters, and audio-visual material such as films.


By enrolling in your course, you are agreeing to AFTRS’ Copyright and Distribution Policy that covers student work, and you agree to follow any related procedures and guidelines.

AFTRS policy position on Copyright is:

  • AFTRS owns student work where the School has provided funds, facilities, equipment or staff supervision to enable you to create films and sound recordings.
  • AFTRS will sometimes share copyright ownership with you, where this supports or enhances course learning outcomes. For example, where entrepreneurship is a Graduate Capability in a Master’s degree course.
  • AFTRS never owns your ideas or concepts. AFTRS also never owns your treatments, screenplays, musical scores, lyrics, artwork, set or costume designs or other material incorporated into films or sound recordings.
  • Where AFTRS owns a film or sound recording, AFTRS always permits the student who created it to use up to 3 minutes or 10% (whichever is the least) to promote themselves on their websites and showreels.
  • Even if you own your films and sound recordings created as part of an AFTRS course of study, you are required to permit AFTRS to use these films and sound recordings for AFTRS’ educational, promotional, library, reporting and archival purposes and to meet AFTRS’ obligations as an Australian government statutory authority.
  • This policy does not apply to films and sound recordings that you make in your own time using your own equipment: you own this work.

If you intend to use copyright material in your work you need to seek permission from the copyright owner to use it, unless:

  • Copyright has expired;
  • You are using less than a substantial part of the material. A substantial part is an important, distinctive or vital part of the material, not necessarily a large part;
  • The copyright owner has already given permission; or
  • There are specific exceptions in the Copyright Act 1968 that allow its use.

As a student, you are likely to rely on the specific exceptions that permit free fair dealings with copyright material for the purposes of research or study, or criticism or review. You may also rely on the (free) fair dealing exceptions for parody or satire or reporting news. In each case, your use of the copyright material must be fair and the specified conditions attached to the particular exception must be complied with.

Even though you may be able to rely on free exceptions in the Copyright Act to include copyright material in student projects you will submit for assessment, permissions may need to be obtained from copyright owners to enable the projects to be distributed outside the School. These are general guidelines. For more information, you can explore the resources for students on copyright on Moodle and the resources at the Australian Copyright Council’s website.


AFTRS may distribute the student films that it owns as appropriate.

Student films are considered to be assessment tasks, and as such, they are not eligible for distribution until after the conclusion of the relevant semester’s assessment period.

When AFTRS distributes a student work, any prizes awarded are given to the appropriate student.

If AFTRS chooses not to actively distribute a student film, AFTRS will allow a student (usually the producer or writer/director or both) to do so. Contact the Sales and Distribution Manager for more information.

You may not distribute student work that AFTRS owns without the approval of the School. This includes circulation on social media, even if access to the content is partially restricted, as this could make your work ineligible for distribution elsewhere. Refer to the Student Social Media Guidelines for more information. You should also be aware of the rights of your co-creators when making distribution decisions, whether or not AFTRS owns copyright.


You are required to acknowledge the School in the credits of any complete film or sound recording you create while studying at AFTRS. The AFTRS logo may only be attached to films that the school has selected for distribution.


The Australian Film Television and Radio School would like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners, the Bidjigal people and Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, on whose land we meet, work, study and teach. We pay our respects to Elders past and present, and extend our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from all nations of this land.