Copyright during COVID-19

The 2020 agreement has not been extended to 2021. However, we do have a new agreement in place which public libraries will soon be able engage with, the Online Storytime pilot. 


In 2021 ALIA will pilot a scheme where publishers can permit the use of their Australian picture book titles in 'Online Storytime 2021' in return for a small annual payment from public library branches.

The pilot follows the popularity of Online Storytime in Australian public libraries during the COVID-19 pandemic, where Australian children and caregivers embraced the online reading of picture books by their local librarians with many hundreds uploaded since April 2020.

Australian publishers are now able to opt-in new or backlist titles for the 2021 Online Storytime pilot by signing up specific titles via the ALIA website or through  As of 27 January 2021 we have 68 titles available, please contact to sign up for the pilot. 


Update to the book industry agreement on copyright for virtual storytimes

25 September 2020

ALIA, the Australian Publishers Association and Australian Society of Authors made an industry agreement at the start of the COVID-19 lockdown, which gave libraries in Australia assurance that they could livestream and record storytimes using children’s picture books for the period of the WHO-declared pandemic without being called out for breach of copyright.  

The industry agreement will extend until 31 December 2020, meaning that it will continue to be the policy of the Australian Publishers Association and the Australian Society of Authors that its members allow libraries to conduct virtual storytimes without any need for specific permission or payment. However, some publishers are now restricting their participation to livestreamed storytimes only, and others have introduced reporting requirements. Please check the publishers’ websites for their individual terms.


ALIA negotiates special agreement on copyright

18 March 2020

Books Create Australia, the collaboration between the Australian Booksellers Association (ABA), the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA), the Australian Publishers Association (APA) and the Australian Society of Authors (ASA) has announced a special arrangement for library storytimes during the COVID-19 outbreak. For the duration of the pandemic, virtual storytimes will be sanctioned by an industry agreement. It is the policy of the Boards of the APA and ASA that their members suspend any requirements for copyright permission to be sought, in order to allow libraries to make recording or livestream storytimes so children aren’t denied this important and much-loved service. This policy is temporary and will remain in force whilst COVID-19 remains as a WHO-declared pandemic. For more information see the news release. 

[Update: 23/03/20] This agreement was made specifically with public library programs in mind. Schools are already able to operate online under the Statutory Education Licence.


copyright guidance for libraries during the covid-19 shutdown

As Australia ramps up its isolation policies in response to COVID-19, many libraries and archives are considering what they can do to keep supplying clients after their doors are closed to the public.

The good news is that Australian copyright law gives libraries, archives, museums and galleries clear rights to provide remote access to materials in many circumstances. The Australian Libraries Copyright Committee, of which ALIA is a founder member, has put together this blog post to help all Australian cultural institutions navigate remote supply over the coming months.


New copyright agreement to support virtual storytimes in schools

Following on from a copyright agreement negotiated by ALIA, the Australian Publishers Association, the Australian Society of Authors, and the National Copyright Unit have announced a new copyright agreement for schools. This agreement allows schools to host virtual storytimes for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. 


This page is accurate as of 27 January 2021 and will be updated as needed