All material on the internet such as text, graphics, spoken word, podcasts, video and music is protected by copyright in the same way as other forms of published material. The easiest approach is to avoid making copies and instead, give your students the web address of the material so they can access it themselves.
Unfortunately, there are many websites and filesharing programs which make material available without permission of the copyright owners. You should not knowingly direct or link students to infringing copies. This can expose you and the University to allegations of 'authorising' copyright infringement. If you are suspicious about the legality of a website, seek further advice from the University Copyright Officer.
Some material on the internet is protected by licence agreements in addition to copyright. Examples include the electronic journals to which the QUT Library subscribes, or content for which you must register and agree to terms before being given access to it.
Generally, copying of materials from databases and electronic book or journal collections to which the Library subscribes (e.g. Proquest and ScienceDirect) for distribution to students is not permitted by the University's licensing agreements with the copyright owners. Students must access the material through a link to the online resource. QUT Readings facilitates the creation of reading lists.
Podcasts of free-to-air radio and TV programs made available online by the broadcaster after the program has been broadcast may be copied to a course website or distributed to students on disc. This is covered by the statutory educational licence in the Copyright Act, which is explained in TV and radio.
The statutory educational licence also applies to all text and graphic works on the internet which is explained in Text and images. However, it does not apply to the electronic journals and databases to which the Library subscribes.
Many openly available websites contain copyright notices such as '©XYZ Pty Ltd 2007 All rights reserved', or a statement saying that the content may be copied or saved for personal use only. Nevertheless, you can copy from the internet for educational purposes following the rules in the statutory licence even if there is a copyright notice on the website that would otherwise make the copying an infringement. However, if you can access copyright material only by agreeing to accept certain terms and conditions which prevent certain types of uses, you should comply with those terms and conditions. It is usually much simpler to email the webmaster of a site asking permission to copy for educational purposes rather than try to apply the statutory licence.
Copyright Guidelines for Copying from the Internet (PDF, 131KB) - a detailed discussion on the application of the statutory educational licence in Part VB of the Copyright Act to text and graphic internet resources. This document is produced by agreement between the Copyright Agency Limited and the Ministers for Education. It is directed to teachers in schools, but they operate under the same licence as the University.