Copyright and privacy


Copyright and privacy are important issues that must be addressed when researching, recording, and sourcing information produced by others. These issues are not a problem or hurdle, but an opportunity to learn about the rights and responsibilities involved.


Copyright is a property right, giving the owner a number of exclusive rights over an original work. The work does not need to be registered: the act of making something or commissioning it to be made gives the author copyright.

In New Zealand the law of copyright is set out in the Copyright Act 1994. The Act protects original work – written, artistic, recorded, filmed, printed, or in the form of an electronic (computer) file. It also applies to students' work.


The Privacy Act 1993 defines personal information as any information about an identifiable individual, and sets out rules for collecting, using, and disclosing personal information.

You are responsible for obtaining identifiable individuals' written consent to appear or be identified, for example in photographs or video images.

Living Heritage copyright and privacy procedure

When publishing students' material

  • Read your school's Internet-use policy, or the Ministry of Education's guidelines for schools for online publication of student images and school work.
  • Ensure the written work is original (in their own words).
    Attach acknowledgments where other material has been used or interpreted.
  • Ensure students and parents give permission to put the work, including photos and drawings, online.
  • Add a copyright symbol and year of publication to all students' work, e.g., © Copyright, Sam Davies. You can copy the symbol here: ©. Highlight the symbol, select Edit/Copy, and then Paste into your document.

When publishing other material

Keep full details of any sources used or referred to.

Obtain permission before using copyrighted material. Our sample letter may help you: Sample copyright authorisation letter for items from a publication

Obtain permission before taking quotes from or making reference to individuals, or taking photographs or oral recordings. Use our form: Permission to publish student work and images


On completion of your project

Fill in this form and submit it with your project:

Other information

  • Discuss copyright issues with students, including where these might arise in their Living Heritage project.
  • Note that although some material is copyright-free if it is more than 50 years old, you will still need to acknowledge the owner or copyright holder, for instance, the Alexander Turnbull Library for images on Timeframes.
  • We recommend that before schools begin their projects, they read the Ministry of Education's publication.
  • Another resource is:
    A Guide to the Copyright Act (1994) for School Libraries
    Niven, Richard. Published by The National Library of New Zealand.

This booklet is a "plain language" review of the Copyright Act as it applies to school libraries. It also answers questions related to copyright and the Internet, copying tapes and CD-ROMs, and student use of photocopiers.

It can be purchased from:
The National Library
PO Box 1467
Ph: 04 474 3000

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