Copyright basics for teachers and schools

Copyright basics for teachers and schools

Here are a few basics that schools and teachers should know about copyright in New Zealand.

What is copyright?
Copyright is a set of rights that people who create something (writers, artists, musicians, film-makers and more) hold over the work that they’ve created. Copyright owners of printed material, for example, have the exclusive rights to:

  • Decide who can copy and publish their work
  • Communicate their work and perform/read it in public
  • Make an adaptation of their work (like a translation or a dramatisation)

If you think of sharing material under copyright as a neighbourly exchange then it can actually be pretty simple… take a look at our video.

What if there’s no © symbol ?
Here in New Zealand, copyright applies the minute a writer (or other creative owner) first records their work – whether that’s in writing or in some other way. There is no registration system. The © symbol is a useful reminder that a piece of work is under copyright, but works that don’t display it are still copyright protected.

What about copying for education purposes?
Generally, if you want to copy a work that’s under copyright, you have to get permission from the copyright owner. The Copyright Act does allow teachers, lecturers and other educators to copy a small amount from a printed work to share with students for education purposes. But it’s a very small amount, for example, up to 3% or 3 pages of a book, whichever is less. Schools that purchase a print licence, however, are able to copy and share far more content than this.

How does copyright licensing work?
Copyright licences help you to access and share far more content than allowed under the education exception. They also help to strike a balance between copyright owners’ rights and the needs of schools and others wanting to access and copy part of a work only.

Copyright Licensing New Zealand has a mandate through agreements with authors and publishers to provide licences to educational facilities, like schools, and businesses so that they can copy and share more than the limits set out by the Copyright Act. Net proceeds from licences are then distributed back to the copyright owners of the work copied.

Here's an overview of what's covered under a copyright licence:
Take a look at our comprehensive guide here. Teachers at licensed schools are able to copy and share:

  • Up to 10% or one chapter of a book
  • 15 pages from books of short stories or poetry
  • Complete magazine and journal articles (one per issue, more if on the same subject)
  • Local and overseas newspaper* articles (five per issue, from online or hard copy)
    *Newspapers are not included in your licence if you are a business or commercial organisation

If you'd like to learn more, try our FREE eLearning module here >>

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash



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