Copyright research and study - Information and Records Management - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

Research and Study

This page covers copyright provisions for research and study purposes.

For a comprehensive guide to copyright for Research Students in New Zealand please see Copyright Guidelines for Research Students prepared for the Library and Information Association of NZ (Lianza) by Tony Millett in 2012.

For a quick guide see here: QuickGuide - Copyright for thesis students (PDF, 171KB)

Research or private study

Section 43 of the Copyright Act 1994 allows for copying to be done if it is “fair dealing” for the purposes of research or private study. These provisions refer to all works that are capable of being copied, including artistic works, pictures, maps, charts, diagrams, photographs, microfilm and sheet music.

The work:

  • must be copied for the user’s own private research or study
  • can be only be copied once
  • cannot be copied in full (although one article in a periodical is permissible), and the whole of an abstract may be copied.

“Fairness” is measured through:

  • the purpose (private research or study)
  • the nature and significance of what is copied in relation to the whole work
  • could the work be bought within a reasonable time and at a reasonable price
  • how the copying affects the value of the work
  • how large a part of the whole work is copied.

There is no rule of thumb in relation to what is a reasonable amount of any work that may be copied. Please be careful when relying on this provision.

Is your copying legal? - Read this if you are copying from books, journals or periodicals etc (PDF, 29KB)

Copyright jigsaw_Horia Varlan_Bixentro via Flickr

Copyright sign made of jigsaw puzzle pieces by Horia Varlan via
creative commons license

Thesis and Copyright


Students writing theses may be both copyright users and, ultimately, copyright owners.
For information relating to the use of copyright and Intellectual Property rights in your thesis please refer to section 3 of the Intellectual Property Policy (PDF, 404KB).

A thesis may consist of or contain a piece of music, an art work, a film, a sound recording, diagrams, illustrations, charts, graphs, as well as text – the copyright of all of these different types of material belongs to the creator of these original works.
What owning copyright means in practice is that the author of the original work (in this case, the thesis) controls how that work can be subsequently used in terms of copying it, performing it, issuing copies of it to the public, adapting it, or broadcasting it, etc.

For more information on thesis standards please see the library thesis guide

For information specifically relating to plagiarism please see plagiarism (Library website)

Restrictions for public thesis use

The University has policies that outline the extent of the author’s copyright control in terms of restricting public use and issue. For more details on this please refer to section 5 of the Intellectual Property Policy (PDF, 404KB).

All subsequent use of the thesis by persons other than the author once the thesis has been released to the public must conform to the provisions of the Copyright Act 1994 and subsequent amendments.

Creative Commons

Consider using Creative Commons licensed works (images etc.) throughout your thesis development. This will save work during publishing as rights will be confirmed.