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

Fair dealing for the purposes of research or private study

Section 43 of the Copyright Act allows "Fair dealing with a work for the purposes of research or private study". The meaning of "fair dealing" depends on the circumstances set out in section 43(3).  The Act does not specify the exact amount you are allowed to copy under 'fair dealing'. However some conventions of what you can copy are listed on this page. 

You may only make one copy for your own use.  You cannot share the copy by electronic means with any other person.

Copying or printing from Online resources


Items that are on your Moodle courses will have been added by Unitec staff and will have been checked to see if they comply with copyright entitlements.  Please remember that you can only print out one copy for your own personal use.

Databases and electronic journals

Different databases allow you to do different things. All will allow you to print a copy of the article, many allow you to save and even email the articles to yourself.  You may only make one copy of each article and you may not share the article electronically with any other person. 

NZ Standards

Electronic Books

The publisher of each eBook determines how many pages of that title you may print. You will be informed of this when you use the print function of the ebook.

Material on the Internet

All items put on the internet will have some form of copyright attached to them.  You need to check the copyright entitlements for each site before copying or printing information. Some sites may even restrict printing of some or all of their material. If possible it is best to use open access or Creative Commons material. However in all cases you must acknowledge who the author is. See more guidance about internet usage here:

Copying allowed for exams and assignments

The Copyright Act 1994 (section 49) allows anything to be done for the purposes of an examination. This can involve setting the questions, communicating the questions to candidates, or answering the questions.

Staff and students may copy anything for the purposes of examination. Examinations include any work which counts towards a student’s final grade in a course, including assignments and theses. However note that this exception does not allow the work to subsequently be made publicly available. 

Copying from Print Sources

Some of the conventions for copying listed below may be 'fair dealing' depending on the circumstances listed in s43(3). You will need to make your own judgment.

  • Books - Only one chapter of each book
  • Journals - Only one article per issue of a journal
  • Magazines - Only one article per issue of a magazine
  • Newspapers - Only one article per issue of a newspaper

Note: Copying from Theses - The copyright of a thesis is owned by the author. You cannot copy without the author's permission.

Videos, DVDs and Music

Some of the copying conventions below may be 'fair dealing'. Please refer to s43(3) of the Copyright Act and use your judgment.

  • Videos - For study purposes you can probably copy 30 seconds of a clip from a commercial video as long as you do not alter any of it.
  • DVDs - For study purposes you can probably copy 30 seconds of a clip from a commercial DVD as long as you do not alter any of it.


Unitec has purchased the ITP Music Licence which allows you for educational study purposes to

  • Perform music in public for educational purposes if you do not charge for entrance
  • Provide copies via any secure mobile network
  • Copy any music to provide access to students and staff
  • Reproduce or combine music with video or digital recordings

See page 2 of the information brochure below for more guidance on what you are allowed to do and how you must do it. Page 1 clarifies what you cannot do.