Watch the video for a brief outline of NZ copyright law and the special licences to copy the University holds.
This presentation was part of a session for staff on Creating and Sharing Ideas in a Connected World, which included other short presentations on Intellectual Property, Creative Commons and Open Educational Resources. View the slides for the presentation, which include links (hosted by UniTube).
What is copyright: the basics
Copyright is a kind of intellectual property, sitting alongside patents, trademarks and designs. It is more properly thought of as a set of rights granted to the copyright holder(s) in relation to something he/she has created. Here are some of the key points about copyright in New Zealand:
- Copyright is automatic: there is no need to register copyright (in fact you can't) or include the copyright symbol. The creator of a work has an automatic right to the copyright in that work.
- Copyright holders have the exclusive right to copy, publish, perform, share, distribute or adapt a work. But there is provision for others to use works in certain ways without seeking the copyright holder's permission (see fair dealing).
- There can be copyright in literary, dramatic, artistic or musical works; in sound recordings, video, or 'communication works' (includes TV/radio broadcasts, internet transmissions); in sculpture or buildings; even in a layout or typographical arrangements (e.g. an edition of a Shakespeare play would have copyright in the typographical arrangement, but not in the words themselves).
- There can be multiple copyrights in a single work. For example: a film might have separate copyright in the screenplay, the images, the music etc.; a textbook might have separate copyright in text, images, data etc.
- Copyright expires. It lasts in New Zealand for 50 years after the year in which the creator of a work died (or 25 years if this is copyright in a typographical layout). Copyright expires for 70 years after the death of the creator in many other countries in the world. When copyright expires, works pass into the public domain.
- Public domain: generally speaking a work is in the public domain if it is 'free' in the sense that it is not owned by somebody, such as the works of Shakespeare, Newton's formulae or the copyright symbol itself. Remember, though, that while the works written by Shakespeare, for example, are not in copyright, there may be copyright in a published edition of a work (such as in the layout or the notes accompanying the text). Works can also be passed into the public domain by a creator. Copyright can also expire as explained above.
- If you do something on commission or as part of your employment then the standard situation is that the commissioner or employer owns the copyright in that thing. (This is not necessarily the case for Otago staff. See staff as creators of copyright material).
- A work must be original in the sense that it must involve individual skill or labour. For example, a painting would be subject to copyright, whereas a photograph of a that painting that had been taken merely to reproduce it as faithfully as possible may not be.
- The Copyright Act 1994 governs copyright in New Zealand, of which the most relevant sections for people working in the tertiary sector are s42 Criticism, review, and news reporting, s43 Research or private study, s44-49 Education, and s50-57 Libraries and archives.
- The creator of a work has a moral right granted by law to be identified as such, as well as the right to object to modification without permission, derogatory treatment or false claim of ownership of that work.
For more information on copyright in New Zealand check out the web site of the Copyright Council of New Zealand, which includes many excellent information sheets, including one specifically on copyright in the educational sector.