Copyright and intellectual property

This page has information for Northern Territory Government agencies about land information copyright and intellectual property.

Policy

All Northern Territory Government agencies involved in land information management will implement copyright and intellectual property guidelines consistent with the following:

Crown copyright applies to all works of the Northern Territory Government.

Intellectual property in all works of the Northern Territory Government remains with the Northern Territory, subject to any exceptions as specified in the guidelines.

In respect of all works produced by its employees, committees, contractors and consultants in the course of their duties, agencies must ensure that intellectual property in such works remains with the Northern Territory, unless otherwise specified by contract.

Definitions

Works means all material stored by any means and produced by employees, committees, contractors and consultants in the provision of products or services. 

They include:

  • documents
  • drawings
  • specifications
  • sketches
  • plans
  • designs
  • estimates
  • calculations
  • reports
  • models
  • computer source code and software developed
  • articles
  • equipment
  • information files 
  • data of any direction or agreed record in writing.

Intellectual property means all copyright, patents and rights in relation to inventions, registered and unregistered trademarks, registered designs and software programs.

Responsibility

Chief executives will be responsible for the implementation of this policy.

All Northern Territory Government officers involved in the management and use of corporate land information are responsible for the application of this policy.

Implementation

Implementation of this policy will be through guidelines developed by the Location Intelligence Group.

All guidelines will be consistent with general Northern Territory Government policy on copyright and intellectual property and will:

  • require the use of mandatory Northern Territory Government copyright statements
  • address options for legal or other action where the Northern Territory’s copyright and intellectual property rights have been infringed.

Licensing of works to third parties is addressed through a separate policy on data supply agreements.

In essence, the Northern Territory Government should hold copyright and intellectual property on all works produced at the direction or under the control of the Northern Territory Government, unless otherwise agreed with a supplier in the contract for service.

Agencies should ensure that works produced are not affected by the status of the person who prepares the them, that is, whether the person is a permanent employee, casual employee or not a Government employee at all.  

In the case of external service providers a contract must be established which specifies who owns Copyright and Intellectual Property of the works produced.

Background

The Northern Territory Government on behalf of the public invests significant resources in the preparation and management of land information assets, including:

  • documentation
  • data
  • information products 
  • other works. 

This information resource has potential value to other levels of government, the private sector and academia and it is reasonable to control this asset through all lawful means.

The Copyright Act 1968 is Commonwealth legislation and is currently under review. 

Advice obtained by the Australia New Zealand Land Information Council (ANZLIC) and other organisations involved in land information management indicates that simple statements of copyright may be insufficient to protect the Government’s interest in its information assets and other works. 

This is particularly true when applied to digital data sets and information accessed dynamically through modern information technology such as the internet. 

Accordingly, a range of measures should be used to protect intellectual property, including copyright, contracts, patents, trademark registration and action for infringement of intellectual property rights.

These measures provide a means of allowing controlled, authorised use of the land information assets by other parties for valid purposes, whether in government, commercial or academic activities, with the full knowledge and cooperation of the custodians of the information.

The requirement for potential users of copyrighted or otherwise protected information assets to contact the custodian or author can ensure that the information asset is used appropriately and in context with the parameters surrounding the preparation of the material, including: 

  • quality
  • original purpose for which the information was collected
  • associated background material 
  • other factors.

Last updated: 18 April 2016