Copyright is free and automatic upon creation of the work. In general, the first owner of copyright will be the author (for literary, musical, dramatic and artistic works) or producer (for sound recordings and films) or broadcaster (for broadcasts). Under Australian law, where an employee is the author, the first owner of copyright is the employer (this is slightly different from the US works-made-for-hire doctrine: in Australia, duration of copyright is still measured by the lifetime of the employee author). In 2004-2005, Australia also introduced some complicated provisions that give performers part ownership rights in sound recordings, and directors some limited ownership rights in relation to films.
A copyright notice (©) is not required on a work to gain copyright, but only the copyright owner is entitled to place a notice. It is useful in publishing the date of first publication and the owner. Where a copyright notice is used, the onus in infringement proceedings is on the defendant to show that copyright does not subsist or is not owned by the person stated in the notice.