Copyright exceptions

Copyright is not only about author rights. Copyright balances the right of authors to choose how their creations are used, with society’s interest in allowing people to access and use works of intellectual or creative endeavour.

When copyright doesn’t apply

One of the most important ways the Copyright Act balances the various rights and interests, is by allowing people to use copyright works without the need to get permission. You can copy without permission from an original if it is for:

  • Research
  • Private study
  • Criticism or review
  • Reporting current events

The amount copied should be deemed ‘fair’. For example it might be fair for an individual to copy an entire poem or article if it is relevant to their study topic. On the other hand, it is unlikely to be fair to copy an entire book if only a section relates to the study.

In education, teachers are permitted to copy the following from an original hardcopy:

  • A single copy (for lesson planning purposes)
  • Multiple copies to up to 3% or three pages (whichever is greater)

Differences in national laws

There can be significant differences between the copyright exceptions in New Zealand and those under the law of other countries. For example, New Zealand does not have a general “fair use” defence as exists in United States copyright law. In addition, some other countries allow the use of third party copyright material for the purposes of parody and satire. There is currently no equivalent copyright exception in New Zealand.

Questions?

For in-depth answers for all your questions, visit our Knowledge Base

Knowledge Base

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Under the Copyright Act 1994, the author of an original work is usually the first owner of copyright in that work.
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Copyright exceptions

Copyright exceptions

Copyright is not only about author rights. Copyright balances the right of authors to choose how their creations are used, with society’s interest in allowing people to access and use works of intellectual or creative endeavour.
Learn more
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Knowledge Base

Knowledge Base

Visit our knowledge base to find accessible, comprehensive, up-to-date copyright information. We currently offer in-depth guides for publishers, teaching staff, researchers, and students who work in tertiary and secondary education.
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Resources

Resources

We have created these useful guides, videos and downloads to explain the ins and outs of various aspects of copyright.
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