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Format Shifting


  1. What is format shifting?

    "Format shifting" is a term used to describe copying content from one technological format to another. Some examples of format shifting include making a copy of a music CD to store on an IPod, or making a DVD copy of a VHS tape of a film.

    Some limited format shifting is permitted under the new 'flexible dealings' exception (new section 200AB). For further information on the new 'flexible dealings' exception, see information sheet "The New Flexible Dealings Exception – What am I allowed to do?"

  2.  Are schools ever allowed to format shift?

    school or TAFE is allowed to format shift copyright material (eg, a video to DVD or music tape to CD) if: 

    1. The original copy of the material is lawful. This means that the school bought it, or it is a genuine (non-pirate) copy of the material that was given to the school
    2. The copy is being made for the purpose of educational instruction (eg, a teacher needs to use the material in class or students need it to do homework).
    3. It is not possible to buy the material in the new format within a reasonable time.
    4. You do not use the format shifted copy in a way that would unreasonably prejudice the copyright owner (such as putting it on the Internet or giving students access to an electronic file that they could copy).

    For more information on the above points, see information sheet "Format Shifting and the Copyright Amendment Act 2006 – What am I allowed to do?" 

    Note: You cannot remove or disable an Access Control Technological Protection Measure to make the format shifted copy. See information sheet, "Copyright Protection Measures and the Copyright Amendment Act" or contact your local Copyright Manager for further advice on Technological Protection Measures.

  3. Are there any marking or labelling requirements for format shifted copies?

    No. There is no legal requirement to mark or label a format shifted copy(other than copies of broadcasts made under the Statutory Broadcast Licence). This does not stop you from marking or labelling a copy if you want to. It is good practice to mark a format shifted copy with words similar to:

    "Copied under section 200AB of the Copyright Act 1968".

  4. Can a school copy its entire collection of educational resource films to store on a CMS?

    Schools are not generally allowed to format shift their whole library or collection. A school will always need to consider the five points outlined in Question 2 before it is allowed to format shift material. This means it is not possible to copy an entire collection without checking the answers to these questions in relation to each item that the school wishes to format shift. If it is possible to buy any of the resources in the school's collection in digital format, the school will not be allowed to copy that resource onto the CMS.

  5. Can a school copy an educational resource film on videotape to another format if the resource is degrading?

    Yes, as long as the five points outlined in Question 2 have been considered and the requirements are met (ie, that you need the resource for the purpose of educational instruction and you cannot buy a new copy in the form you need it). You cannot update a degrading resource "just in case", or if you could buy a copy of the film in the new format. You must also ensure that any copying does not circumvent an Access Control Technological Protection Measure. See information sheet, "Copyright Protection Measures and the Copyright Amendment Act" or contact your local Copyright Manager for further advice on Technological Protection Measures.

    In addition, a school library is allowed to copy a film held in its collection in a published form (ie, on commercial VHS tape) that has been damaged or has deteriorated for the purpose of replacing the original copy of the film provided they cannot find a replacement within a reasonable time at an ordinary commercial price.

    Note: A library is only allowed to copy films contained in the school's collection. The library cannot borrow material from another school to make a new copy.

  6. Can I format shift anything other than films?

    Yes, as long as you have considered the five points in Question 2 and all requirements are met. For example, you can copy an old language lesson cassette onto CD where you cannot buy the CD within a reasonable time.

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