Copyright Guidelines

In New Zealand, copyright is an automatic unregistered right that comes into being each time an original work is created, published or performed.

Copyright covers works that are published in New Zealand or overseas. The Copyright Act 1994’s definition of “copying” includes digital copying.

Copyright applies to such things as literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, books, periodical articles, newspapers, personal papers, musical and art works, sound recordings, films, videos, DVDs, photographs, multi-media works, communication works, sound and television broadcasts, computer programs and software, computer databases, CD-ROMs, maps, charts, diagrams, tables, graphs, sheet music, paintings, works of architecture, and typographical arrangements of published editions.

For published and unpublished works copyright does not expire until 50 years after the end of the year in which the author died or the work was first made available to the public.

For typographical arrangements of published editions, copyright expires 25 years after the end of the year in which the edition was first published.

For Crown publications, copyright continues for 100 years, although there is no copyright on Crown publications such as bills, acts, regulations, bylaws, parliamentary debates, judgments of courts and tribunals, and reports of select committees, royal commissions, commissions of inquiry, ministerial inquiries and statutory inquiries.

On the expiry of its copyright a work passes into the public domain, and it may then be freely used without the need for any permissions to be sought.

Until copyright has expired, permission to copy or make other use of a work must be sought from the copyright owner, unless the use is permitted under the provisions of the Copyright Act 1994.

Separate copyright may exist in trade-marks, logos, photographs, illustrations, sound, video and images, therefore separate multiple permissions may be required.


The Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act 2011 inserts into the Copyright Act 1994 (sections 122A-122U) an infringing file sharing regime, which provides copyright owners with a special process for taking enforcement action against people who infringe copyright through file sharing.

It is a process of escalating infringement notices sent by IPAPs (Internet protocol address providers), at the instigation of copyright owners, to IPAP account holders who are alleged to have repeatedly infringed copyright through file sharing.

“File sharing” is defined in section 122A(1) as “where – (a) material is uploaded via, or downloaded from, the Internet using an application or network that enables the simultaneous sharing of materials between multiple users; and (b) uploading and downloading may, but need not, occur at the same time”.

Account holders, defined in section 122A(1) as meaning, in relation to an IPAP or Internet protocol address provider, “a person who has an account with the IPAP”, includes libraries and their parent organisations.

Account holders have the right to challenge any of the infringement notices (detection notice, warning notice, enforcement notice) sent to them by an IPAP, but must do so within 14 days of the date of the infringement notice.

The infringing file sharing regime also includes involvement of the Copyright Tribunal, which can award compensation of up to $15,000 if a breach of copyright is substantiated, and of the District Court, which can order suspension by an IPAP of the account holder’s Internet account for up to six months.

Libraries are affected by the infringing file sharing regime as IPAP account holders.

Libraries or their parent organisations may receive infringement notices from their IPAP, and if so are required to take action – to challenge the infringement notices, and to investigate and attempt to stop any substantiated copyright infringement.


Dunedin Public Libraries has reviewed the Copyright Policy and will respond as follows and where applicable:-

  1. The Library strongly supports the principles of copyright and the rights of copyright owners, and therefore takes all appropriate actions to ensure that copyright is not breached within the Library, either by staff or by customers.
  2. Library staff have a responsibility to investigate and stop any apparent breaches of copyright which they observe taking place on Library-supplied photocopiers, scanners, audio, video and DVD players, computers and other equipment.
  3. The Library makes regular and ongoing checks to ensure that the conditions of the Copyright Act are being observed.
  4. The Library has a responsibility to educate its staff and its customers on copyright issues affecting them, including issues relating to copyright and the Internet.
  5. The Library treats its staff and its customers with respect, observes and preserves their privacy, and considers them to be innocent unless evidence proves otherwise.
  6. The Library has an obligation to investigate and respond in a timely manner to charges of alleged copyright infringement sent to it by IPAPs (Internet protocol address providers) or copyright owners.
  7. The Library has the right to challenge and dispute such charges.
  8. The Library advises IPAPs or copyright owners if its systems do not enable it to identify individuals who have used Library computers on dates and times at which breaches of copyright have been alleged.
  9. Restriction of access to the Internet or equipment within the Library is always seen as a last resort.
  10. All Library team leaders are aware of Copyright Legislation. All staff must read this copyright policy which is based on publications listed on the LIANZA (Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa) website at, and in particular LIANZA’s The Copyright Act 1994 and Amendments: Guidelines for Librarians.
  11. Queries regarding copyright which are not able to be answered by front-line staff are referred to a member of the Senior Management Team, designated with a special responsibility for copyright matters, in the first instance the Head of Collection Services.
  12. Library staff who observe an apparent breach of copyright in the Library either deal with it themselves in accordance with this Policy, or refer it to a senior Library Manager.
  13. The Library posts warning notices about illegal copying, and the provisions of the Copyright Act relating to fair dealing, adjacent to its photocopiers, scanners and other Library-supplied equipment.
  14. The Library posts warning notices regarding copying and downloading from the Internet adjacent to its public-access computers and on screen-savers.
  15. Where possible, the Library blocks access to Internet sites the sole purpose of which is known to be to facilitate the illegal downloading of materials from the Internet.
  16. If the Library receives notification from an IPAP or copyright owner that there has been an apparent breach of copyright on a library-owned computer, the Library investigates and takes appropriate action, as detailed below.
  17. If the alleged breach is identified as having taken place on a Library staff computer, and if the individual staff member can be identified, the facts of the case are ascertained. If the alleged breach is substantiated, the staff member is given additional instruction on copyright law in general and the current incident in particular, and warned that a repetition may result in disciplinary action being taken under the Library’s employment contract with that staff member.
  18. If the alleged incident is not substantiated, or if the individual staff member can not be identified, this is reported back to the IPAP or copyright owner.
  19. At the same time, all Library staff are reminded of their obligation to comply with copyright law.
  20. If the alleged breach is identified as having taken place on a Library-owned public-access computer, the Library attempts to identify the name and contact details of the person using the computer on the specified date and time.
  21. If the person can be identified, the facts of the case are ascertained. If the alleged breach is substantiated, the person is given information on copyright law as this affects library customers, and is warned that a repetition may result in the person being banned from using public-access Internet computers in the Library. If notification is received of a second apparent breach of copyright by the same person, and if that breach is substantiated, the person is given a second warning. If notification is received of a third apparent breach of copyright by the same person, and if that breach is substantiated, the person will be trespassed from the Library for a period of not less than one year.
  22. If it is not possible for the Library to identify the person using the public-access computer on the specified date and time, either because the Library does not require users to authenticate, or because records of use are kept for only a very short period or not at all, the Library reports back to the IPAP or copyright owner that the alleged breach has been investigated but that the alleged infringement can not be substantiated or infringer identified.
  23. The Library always responds within 14 days to a detection notice, warning notice or enforcement notice received from an IPAP, giving details of the investigations undertaken and any actions taken. Copies of correspondence are kept for one year.
  24. A copy of this Policy is provided on request as evidence that the Library is taking all actions within its power to comply with copyright law, and to attempt to ensure that breaches of copyright by either Library staff or Library customers within the Library are minimised.

Endorsed by the Library Senior Management Team - 22 November 2011.

These guidelines will be reviewed annually.