Format shifting

Format shifting is the process of copying content from one technological format to another. It is most commonly performed to move material from analogue format to digital, such as making a DVD version of a VHS tape.

Although the Copyright Amendment Act 2006 allows an exception for format shifting copyrighted material for private and domestic use, this does not apply to educational institutions. ANU cannot format shift entire collections, for example VHS to DVD; or VHS to ANU Online.

Instead, under the flexible dealings exception (Section 200AB) some limited format shifting of copyrighted material that was lawfully obtained is allowed in the following scenario:

  • the copy is being made for the purpose of educational instruction. That is, it will be used for teaching (including remote teaching), preparation for teaching, preparing materials for students to use for private study or research tasks; or other uses that are in connection with your teaching and
  • it is not possible to buy the material in the new format within a reasonable time, in other words the time it would usually take to be supplied when ordered from a retailer and
  • you do not use the format-shifted copy in a way that would adversely impact on the copyright owner's rights, for example making it accessible in such a way that it could be copied by others and
  • you do not remove or disable an access control Technological Protection Measure (TPM) to make the format shifted copy and
  • you destroy the format-shifted copy immediately after use.
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