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Copyright explained

As a staff member or student at AUT you are both a user and creator of copyright protected works. It is important to have a basic understanding of copyright to protect your own rights and to avoid copyright infringement.

Copyright is a form of intellectual property. It is a legal right that automatically arises when an original work is created, for example an artwork, literary work, musical work, film or sound recording. The creator of a work is usually the copyright owner with exclusive rights in relation to their work. The Copyright Act of 1994 governs copyright in New Zealand.

Copyright law also allows for certain exceptions where you don’t need to ask for permission, these include using parts of a work for educational use and fair dealing.

Copyright applies to works that are original and are expressed in a fixed form. Copyright does not cover ideas or facts. Copyright applies to:

Artistic works
- includes graphic works, paintings, photographs, sculptures, collages, maps, models, works of architecture, industrial prototypes.

Communication works
- television and radio broadcasts, online webcasts.

Dramatic works
- a work that is a dance, mime or film script.

- a recording on any medium that consists of a moving image. Includes movies, TV programmes, videos recorded on a phone.

Literary works
- any work that is written, other than a dramatic or musical work. Includes books, reports, articles, etc.

Musical works
- includes works that consist of music but does not include lyrics nor any actions performed with the music.

Sound recordings
- any recording of sound on any medium. Includes music recordings, public speeches, recordings of poetry.

Typographical arrangements
- the choice of typeface and arrangement of text in a published literary work.

In New Zealand copyright protection lasts for 50 years after the death of the creator for most works. After this, copyright expires and works enter the public domain and can be used for any purpose. Specific copyright protection terms for different works are:

Literary, dramatic, musical, artistic works
- 50 years after the death of the creator.

Joint copyright
- 50 years after the last creator dies.

Sound recordings, films
- 50 years from the end of the year of publication.

- Photographs taken prior to 1945 are deemed to be in the public domain in New Zealand.

Crown copyright
- 100 years from the end of the year of creation. Some works are assigned a Creative Commons licence.

Computer-generated works
- 50 years from the end of the year of creation.

Communication works
- 50 years from the end of the year the work was first made publicly available.

Typographical arrangements
- 25 years from the end of the year in which the edition was first published.

Other jurisdictions may have longer copyright duration terms. The US, Australia and the UK all have a copyright duration of 70 years from the death of the creator.

Mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) is the unique body of knowledge essential to the Māori world, including Māori values, concepts, culture and worldview. This includes creative Māori works such as imagery, carvings and designs and te reo Māori (Māori language), all of which have significant cultural importance to Māori.

If you are intending to use works that include Māori elements or imagery it is important to research their cultural significance and carefully consider the context in which you wish to use them. Even if the works are in the public domain, you may need to seek further advice from appropriate Māori elders or iwi representatives. Refer to the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand's guide to Māori Intellectual Property for further information.


For more copyright help contact your Liaison Librarian or send email to copyright@aut.ac.nz.