Copyright, Plagiarism & DRM

Updated: Jun 11, 2020

Independent and self-published authors exercise self-governing freedoms over the publishing process. With freedom comes responsibility and accountability.


The writer of independent material retains copyright ownership. Exclusive rights apply to publish, reproduce, and adapt the work. The writer controls authorised copies of their work, and exercises their legal, moral, and economic rights. Copyright lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years. The material then enters the public domain. For copyright infringement, legal action must commence 6 years from the time the infringing work was published, or since finding the infringement, and at the judge's discretion. After 6 years, authors cannot take legal action. Copyright Infringement occurs in fiction where a combination of character's traits, themes, plots and sequence of events, when combined, are the expression of an idea, taken from the original author. Write your own copyright notice in accordance with the ‘Australian Copyright Act 1968’. Use your own wording to exercise your rights for licensing, reproduction, and permissions. Create a separate notice for electronic versions that includes electronic protection.


Plagiarism is the unlawful use of another writer’s ideas or thoughts, and presenting these as their own. This applies to university assessments where the author copies chunks from academic journals, and then passes the work off as their own, without referencing the original author. Plagiarism might occur in non-fiction where facts are presented. Check for plagiarism online via PlagiarismCheck, Grammarly or CheckForPlagiarism.


Digital Rights Management provides protection against unauthorised distribution of ebooks online. The full effectiveness of DRM protection is unknown, however, this protection blocks others from stealing material as they cannot copy and paste using a screen. Enabling DRM also blocks readers from sharing books between their edevices. Readers access is restricted to the primary device used to downloaded the ebook. This can cause problems for readers. Weigh up benefits vs restrictions to decide on DRM protection.

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