Guidance on permitted use of copyright works for study, research and teaching purposes

Breaching Copyright

Unitec policies require you to ensure that you are not breaching any New Zealand laws. Any breaches that Unitec is informed of could lead to disciplinary action.

If you infringe copyright you may be exposed to legal action.  It is your responsibility as the person copying to ensure that you do not exceed your copyright entitlement. 



Copyright,  2011, by Maria Elena. (Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)

General Information

All staff and students must abide by the laws of Copyright as defined in the Copyright Act 1994 including all amendments. However an important exception to this is when you access information from any database that your institution subscribes to, then the database's specific terms and conditions take priority over the Copyright Act. For more information about each database's terms and conditions see our 'Guide to Vendors Copyright Terms of Use' at

What is Copyright?

Copyright refers to the rights of an author or creator and are automatically given to control the copying, distribution and adaptation of their work. Users of copyright works must restrict their use to that permitted by the Copyright Act 1994 or specific license agreements or specific permissions given by authors/creators.

Copyright does not have to be registered and the copyright symbol does not have to appear on a work for it to be protected by copyright.

Works protected by copyright:

In New Zealand, the categories of protected works are defined in section 2 of the Copyright Act and are as follows.

  • literary works including words of a book, poem, newspaper or journal article, speech or song, email, or training manual, as well as tables and compilations, and computer programs
  • dramatic works including dance, mime and film scenarios or scripts
  • musical works including the score and sheet music
  • artistic works including paintings, drawings, diagrams, maps, models, photographs and sculptures
  • sound recordings separate to the actual music or story
  • films for any genre or format, separate from the underlying script, music or broadcast
  • communication works including radio and television broadcasts and internet webcasts
  • typographical arrangements of published editions covering the layout of the edition derived from a complete or partial literary, dramatic or musical work.

How Long Does Copyright last?

For most works copyright lasts for 50 years from the end of the year of the death of the author. However there are some exceptions to this. For more detail on duration of copyright for different types of works see sections 22-25 of the Copyright Act and the Copyright Licensing NZ Knowledge Base



You must acknowledge where your material comes from.  (Copyright Act 1994)

You should include in any acknowledgment the elements below. Please check your referencing style for examples of other materials.

For an Edited Book Chapter

For a Journal Article

For a Website

Author(s) of chapter

Author(s) of article

Author(s) of the page

Chapter title

Article title

Title of webpage

Editor(s) of the book

Name of the journal

Publication date

Book title

Year of publication


Year of publication






Place of publication

Pages of the article





Pages of the chapter



Contact people

For copyright assistance contact Anna Wheeler, Manager Resources, Library