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6. Availability, accessibility and intellectual property rights

6.1 Availability

Principles

The Government has a responsibility to ensure that information about its policies, programs and services is made available to the public in the short and long term (see Policy statement 1). This means that particular attention should be given to ensuring that information can be found through sources that are commonly available to the public. It also requires information to be well catalogued, easily retrievable and securely maintained.

Policy requirements

Agency information must be made available in accordance with the Right to Information Act 2009 (commenced 1 July 2010), which encourages the release of information held by Tasmanian public authorities, including government agencies, without the need for a formal process. The underlying principle of the Act is that information held by public authorities belongs to the people of the State, and has been collected for them and on their behalf.

Agency information must be recorded in a format that complies with the records management policies and procedures of the agency and with the Archives Act 1983.

In complying with disclosure and deposit requirements of the Right to Information Act 2009 and the Archives Act 1983, agencies must also ensure all requirements of the Personal Information Protection Act 2004 are met.

Additionally, agencies must:

  • maintain a register or record of all publications for publishing each year in its annual report
  • maintain a current, comprehensive and well-structured identification or classification records system that provides an effective means for organising, locating and retrieving published information
  • ensure all publications feature:
    • contact details for the originating agency and unit so questions, comments, feedback, requests for further information or complaints can be received and dealt with promptly
    • acknowledgement of copyright
    • the title of the publication
    • the date of publication
  • ensure information about an agency's mission, structure, programs and services is publicly accessible through their agency website and/or the Service Tasmania or www.tas.gov.au portals
  • provide one copy of all publications to the State Library of Tasmania within one month after publication, as per the Tasmanian Libraries Act 1984
  • within one month of publication, deliver one copy of all publications to the Legal Deposit Unit of the National Library of Australia in accordance with the Copyright Act 1968
  • deposit copies of all electronic publications in the Stable Tasmanian Open Repository Service (STORS) to fulfil the legal deposit obligations under the Libraries Act 1984.

In addition, it is recommended that:

  • where applicable, agencies include author names, volume/issue number and International Standard Book Number (ISBN) or International Standard Series Number (ISSN) in publications.

Resources

6.2 Accessibility

Principles

Our community includes people with diverse communication needs. We must make sure that Government communications materials are accessible to all (see Policy statement 2). We must ensure that we meet the needs of people:

  • with low levels of literacy
  • with sensory or cognitive disabilities
  • who rely on assistive technology
  • from culturally and linguistically diverse communities
  • with limited access to technology.

Particular attention should be given to ensuring the public can understand and use the information in the way it was intended.

Policy requirements

To maximise accessibility of information, agencies must:

  • consider the accessibility of particular communication methods among target audiences when designing communications strategies (e.g. internet access in rural areas, podcast usage among seniors, text heavy messages to young people)
  • use plain language, a consistent style and an appropriate tone to ensure target audiences (external and internal) can understand information being communicated in writing or verbally
  • consider the need to deliver information in alternative formats (e.g. Braille, large print, via accredited interpreters or translators) where target audiences are from culturally and linguistically diverse communities or have diverse needs including low levels of literacy, sensory and cognitive disabilities or reliance on assistive technology
  • ensure information published on websites is accessible to all Tasmanians in accordance with WCAG 2.0 level AA accessibility requirements
  • ensure Tasmanian Government multimedia productions such as DVDs, animations and videos include captions or are accompanied by a transcript
  • ensure audio productions such as podcasts or audio clips are accompanied by a transcript
  • ensure Tasmanian Government television commercials include captions.

Resources

6.3 Intellectual property rights

Principles

Government agencies must be aware of their rights and obligations under intellectual property laws – including copyright, trademarks and moral rights - to ensure they both protect the interests of government and avoid infringing the rights of others. Agencies should be mindful that copyright applies to a wide range of formats, from printed material to contributions to websites (user-generated content).

The copyright in materials created by Tasmanian Government employees in the course of their employment and by any other person under the direction or control of the Crown is owned by the Crown, except by prior agreement to the contrary. Note that copyright ownership rests with the Crown, not with individual agencies or officers.

Intellectual property rights should be considered when establishing partnerships between the Crown and third parties.

Definitions

Copyright provides legal protection for people who produce things like writing, images, music and films by preventing others from doing certain things - such as copying and making available online - without permission (Source: Australian Copyright Council, <http://www.copyright.org.au/information/cit014/wp0125>, accessed 16 July 2010).

Moral rights are the rights of individual creators in relation to copyright works or films they have created. Moral rights are separate from the ‘economic rights’ of the copyright owner, such as the right to reproduce the work or communicate it to the public. Moral rights protect against the derogatory treatment of works such as failing to attribute the owner of moral rights and not allowing the work to be changed. The creator of a work, who holds moral rights, is not necessarily the owner of copyright in the work (Source: Australian Copyright Council, Information sheet G043 Moral Rights, June 2006).

Trademarks are a word, phrase, letter, number, sound, smell, shape, logo, picture, aspect of packaging or a combination of these used to protect a brand name and distinguish the goods and services of one trader from those of another. (Source: IP Australia, <http://www.ipaustralia.gov.au/trademarks/what_index.shtml., accessed 16 July 2010).

Policy requirements

Agencies must:

Contact

Administrator Crown Copyright
Department of Justice
Email: legislation.development@justice.tas.gov.au
Phone: 6165 4930

Resources