Intellectual Property

The Department of Education (DE) creates, acquires, funds and uses a range of intellectual property (IP).

This IP, including copyright, is managed and used in accordance with the Whole of Victorian Government Intellectual Property Policy (the State's IP Policy) and the law.

The overarching intent is that:

  • the Department grants rights to its IP as a public asset, in a manner that maximises its impact, value, accessibility and benefit consistent with the public interest; and
  • the Department acquires or uses third party IP in a transparent and efficient way, while upholding the law and managing risk appropriately.

The Department's management and use of IP is guided by seven IP principles.

IP Principles

    1.    The Department makes its IP available with the fewest possible restrictions

    The Department grants rights to its IP with the fewest possible restrictions, in a way that maximises its impact, value, accessibility and benefit to the public. 

    To ensure the public is able to access its full benefit and value, IP owned by the Department should be shared as widely as possible. For example, on its website and in its publications, the Department makes the content and resources it has created available to the public for re-use under a Creative Commons Attribution Licence.

    Rights are granted with appropriate consideration of third party IP (IP belonging to others) and in accordance with IP legislation. In some cases, restrictions may be applied for reasons of privacy, public safety, security and law enforcement, public health, commercialisation (noting Principle 5) and compliance with the law.

    Where the Department has a licence to use IP, it must comply with the terms of that licence, including any conditions of how that IP may be used. This Principle should be read in conjunction with Principles 3 and 4 to ensure that any sharing of IP that has been licensed to the Department is consistent with the terms of that licence.

    2.    The Department owns the IP created by its employees in the course of their work

    The Department owns IP created by its employees in the course of their employment. 

    Copyright material created under the direction or control of the Department is owned by the Department, on behalf of the State, unless ownership is modified by agreement.

    3.    The Department appropriately manages IP belonging to others

    The Department deals with IP belonging to others (third party IP) in a manner that:

    • avoids infringing the IP rights of others and complies with the law
    • treats the moral rights of others with respect and correctly attributes creators as appropriate
    • provides equitable remuneration to IP owners (whether directly or through collecting societies) in a manner consistent with the spending of public moneys.

    Students retain exclusive rights as creators of their own IP, and permission must be obtained before using student IP.

    The Department holds specific copyright licences that allow its employees to use copyright material without seeking permission from the copyright holder. They cover:

    • corporate staff uses of copyright materials for government purposes; and
    • schools' uses of copyright materials for educational purposes.

    These licences involve agreements with collecting societies to provide remuneration to copyright holders for these uses. It is the responsibility of corporate and school staff to use material within licence limits and in compliance with the law.

    4.    IP is managed in departmental procurement, contracts, and shared funding agreements

    When procurement for goods or services may result in IP being generated, the Department:

    1. addresses in an agreement any rights to IP (including pre-existing IP) that may arise as a consequence of the procurement
    2. secures a licence to the IP, only to the extent necessary to achieve the purpose of the procurement; and
    3. only acquires ownership to the IP if a licence is not adequate in the circumstances. 

    When providing a grant or similar funding for an identified purpose or project, the Department

    1. addresses in an agreement any rights to any IP (including pre-existing IP) that may arise as a consequence of the grant or funding
    2. does not secure a licence to the IP unless there is a stated purpose for doing so, and then only to the minimum extent necessary to achieve that purpose
    3. if a licence would not be adequate in the circumstances, acquires ownership of the resulting IP; and
    4. ensures that overall ownership of the IP can be assigned to or by the Department if the IP is not used by the recipient for the purpose of the grant or funding within a reasonable time.

    5.    The Department does not ordinarily commercialise its IP

    In line with the Whole of Victorian Intellectual Property Policy, the Department is not ordinarily in the business of commercialising IP in order to create a financial return. This principle ensures that government-generated IP benefits the public interest and fosters innovation.

    The Department may commercialise or apply cost recovery guidelines to IP if:

    1. it has an explicit statutory function to do so; or
    2. it has been explicitly authorised by the Minister of Finance to do so because of a clear net benefit to the Victorian community.

    6.    Departmental employees must not commercialise departmental IP for their own purposes

    The Department's employees must not commercialise departmental IP for personal or private gain. The Department's Other Employment Policy defines the parameters within which employees may engage in other employment and the related procedures and permissions.

    7.    Departmental IP is identified and recorded appropriately

    The Department and agencies identify and record IP in their possession, where that IP:

    1. involves statutory registration and renewal processes;
    2. is critical to a deliverable or a core function of the agency; or
    3. requires active risk management.


For more information about how the Department manages and uses IP, contact the Department's Copyright team:

For information about how the Department manages intellectual property, including copyright, refer to: Copyright