Whether you are a small museum or individual collector, there are many things you can do now to prepare to digitise your collections. Since the Copyright laws in New Zealand have just changed for the first time since 1994, it is the perfect time to find out what you always wished you knew.
Copyright – an easy introduction
These guidelines provide you with introductory information on some of the copyright questions that are often raised in the museum, heritage and arts sectors. There is no need to feel confused or uncertain about copyright as long as you do a bit of research. Instead of diving straight into legislative documents, it is better perhaps to start with an overview of how copyright affects you. If you are looking to protect yourself and your original works, wondering how to legally use copyrighted material, or how to find out if a work is protected, we have some research starting points for you.
Please remember that these copyright guidelines are constructed to give you an overview of copyright legislation as it applies in New Zealand. We have also provided links to sites where you can do your own research. If you want to start a discussion about copyright, or have any questions, comments or feedback, please register for our eHive forum and start a conversation.
Copyright (New Technologies) Amendment Act 2008 – New Zealand
There are recent changes in New Zealand copyright legislation that are in line with a world wide re-evaluation of copyright in this era of new technologies. The New Zealand Copyright Act (1994) has been amended, updating our laws to reflect the technological developments of our current decade. You can download the Copyright (New Technologies) Act 2008 by visiting the NZ Legislation website. Now is the perfect time to look at copyright law if you haven’t before, as now it will most likely represent your uses. Some interesting changes to note are the changes that affect Librarians and Archivists, and also the new issue of Internet Service Provider liability.
What is protected by copyright?
In New Zealand, copyright protection applies to original literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works, sound recordings, films, communication works and the typographical arrangement of published editions. When a work is put into material form, it automatically becomes copyright protected. In New Zealand you cannot register for copyright protection, nor is any other formality required for securing copyright protection.
Copyright protection refers to original material expression. It protects the particular manner of expressing an idea or conveying information. It cannot protect just information, ideas, schemes or methods that are capable of being expressed in other ways.
Copyright protection and the international community
New Zealand is a signatory to various international agreements regarding copyright around the world. This means that a work created in New Zealand is also automatically protected in countries that are members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). This also means that work created overseas in these countries is automatically protected here in New Zealand. Every country has differences in its legislation, so be sure to check your own government’s laws.
How long does protection last?
Copyright protection applies to a work for a limited period of time only. This is usually measured by the number of years that have elapsed since the author’s death. These periods of time vary according to the work. This does not mean, however, that after that date the work is in the public arena in every case. In some instances, the copyright for someone’s work may pass to a descendant of the creator of the work, or from a family member to a museum or art gallery. Also, the transmission or assignment of copyright to another party may be only partial or limited in some way; it is not necessarily always full rights.
Some categories of work that may apply to content created on eHive are as follows;
- Literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works: Copyright protection lasts fifty years from the end of the calendar year in which the author dies.
- Artistic works industrially applied: Copyright protection lasts sixteen years from the time the work is industrially applied.
- Works of artistic craftsmanship industrially applied: Copyright protection lasts twenty-five years from the time the work is industrially applied
- Typographical arrangement of published editions: Copyright protection lasts until twenty-five years from the end of the calendar year in which the edition was first published.
What rights do copyright owners have?
The copyright owner has rights, as outlined in legislation, to protect their ability to control their own work and their right to benefit financially from it.
- Copying the work;
- Publishing, issuing or selling copies of the work to the public;
- The right to perform the work in public;
- Playing the work in public;
- Showing the work in public;
- The communication of the work to the public;
- Making an adaptation of the work or doing any of the above activities in relation to an adaptation; and
- Authorising any other person to do any of the restricted activities listed above.
- The right to be identified as the author of a work (the right of attribution);
- The right to object to derogatory treatment of the work (the right of integrity); and
- The right not to have a work falsely attributed to them.
What am I allowed to do with copyrighted material?
There are still permissible uses of copyrighted material. As always, more specific details can be learned by going to the ‘acts permitted in relation to copyright works’ section of the legislation.
Permitted acts include:
- "fair dealing" – for the purposes of criticism, review, news reporting, research or private study;
- limited copying or dealing in the work for particular educational purposes;
- limited copying or dealing in the work by librarians or archivists in specific circumstances;
Of course if you wish to engage with a work further, you must research who owns the copyright and ask them. If they are no longer alive, then find out which year they died, and refer to the section above ‘How long does protection last?’. Please keep in mind that copyright ownership can be passed on (in full or with limitations) to family members, art galleries, museums and so on. There can also be more than one owner of copyright, for example if the work has more than one author.
If you have researched and found no current copyright owner for material you wish to use, and the maker/author/artist has died, then find out the year of their death and from there you can ascertain if the work is in the public domain. It is always a good idea to record all of your research as you try and find the copyright owner. Should the owner be untraceable, yet finds out at a later date that their work has been used, then you will be able to prove that you tried all available avenues in attempting to contact them.
As a copyright owner, how can I alert people who view my work that it is copyrighted?
You can include a copyright notice that immediately announces that the work is protected. There are various ways of doing this and you can construct your notice to suit your needs exactly. For information on creating copyright statements, the UK Copyright Service has a fact sheet available as a helpful introduction.
There is also an organisation called Creative Commons which can help you decide how you wish people to interact with your work. They are a non profit organisation that release their own copyright licenses, called Creative Commons Licenses that are not so restrictive as traditional copyright licenses.
eHive has the facility to attach a copyright statement to your work in the cataloguing screens, which is viewable to users in the detail view of your record. If you choose not to attach a statement your work is still protected under the law, however if you do attach a statement it can act as a visual deterrent and will let people know who owns the copyright.
If you are unsure of what you are doing, we advise you to research the copyright status of the material in question. There is no legal requirement in New Zealand to attach a copyright symbol or copyright statement to original work, so users of material have to be careful not to assume there is no copyright attached.
If you have questions as an owner of copyright, a user of copyrighted material or a museum or heritage institution looking for more specific and tailored information, then there are a number of useful websites and organisations set up to help you.