Copyright General - Information and Records Management - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

Copyright General

This page outlines the purpose of copyright, what materials it covers and duration of copyright.

Copyright includes

  • Single copying
  • Multiple copying
  • Electronic copying
  • Copying of films, sound recordings, broadcasts, or cable programmes
  • Sound recordings
  • Off-air recordings
  • Anthologies
  • Examinations
  • Library copying

The purpose of copyright

The purpose of the original legislation (Statute of Anne 1710) was “to support learning and the sharing of ideas”. Copyright was designed to encourage creativity by protecting the rights of the creators to benefit from their ideas while balancing this with the need for society to have access to the ideas.

University staff and students are both creators and users of copyright.

Materials covered by copyright

  • Books
  • Films
  • Charts
  • Music
  • Paintings
  • Plans
  • Internet Materials
  • Journals
  • Maps
  • Diagrams
  • Pamphlets
  • Photographs
  • Newspapers
  • Electronic databases
  • Communication works (i.e. radio, television and cable programmes

Copying these materials can be made only as permitted by the Copyright Act or under licence.

Duration of copyright

Copyright comes into existence automatically when “the work is recorded, in writing or otherwise” (s15, Copyright Act 1994 (NZ Legislation: Acts website). Copyright does not exist in an idea that is not recorded. “Recorded” here refers to items that may or may not be “published”.

Published and Unpublished Works
Copyright continues for 50 years from the death of the author/creator.

For works with no known author, the copyright period is 50 years from the end of the calendar year in which the work was first made, published, performed, exhibited, or broadcast.

Copyright exists in the typographical arrangement (exact printed layout and format) of a published edition for 25 years from the year of publication.

Copyright in sound recordings and films ends after 50 years from when the work was made or 50 years from the end of the calendar year in which it is made available to the public, i.e. published, broadcast, included in a cable programme service, shown in public, or played in public.

Copyright in broadcasts and cable programmes lasts for 50 years from the end of the calendar year in which they are made.

Out of print works are still protected by copyright.

Crown Copyright
Copyright in Crown publications lasts for 100 years. However, there is no copyright in certain Crown publications, eg. Bills, Acts, Regulations, Parliamentary Debates, Court and Tribunal judgments, reports of Select Committees, Commissions of Inquiry, or Government Inquiries.