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For parents and whānau

This section provides some general information to help parents and whānau understand how copyright may affect their child at school and at home.

On this page:

Your child's work

In most circumstances, your child owns the copyright in all original work they create. This can be a story, a picture, a website page, a video, or a piece of music.

This means that the school (or anyone else) cannot copy, adapt, or use your child's work without permission from you and your child. When a school uses your child's material, they need to acknowledge your child as the creator. However, you can ask that your child is not identified.

Some schools request that parents or guardians sign a form giving permission to use children's work in, for example, the school website, newsletter, exhibitions, or publicity material. To see an example of this type of form, see the Student copyright permission form page.

Homework and projects

Schools are happy for you to help your child with homework and projects, but the result must be their own work.

Make sure your child understands that what they find on the Internet, in newspapers, or books must not appear in a project or homework as their own work – this is plagiarism.

Students may use information from these places in their projects, but they must make it clear what comes from other people (such as using quotation marks around words or labelling images) and say where it came from – other people's work must always be acknowledged.

Make sure your child understands that changing other people's work and presenting it as their own is not allowed either.

  • To find out more about how copyright affects students' work, go to the section For students.


The Copyright Act allows people to copy part of a copyright work – for example, perhaps one chapter of a book, or one article in a magazine or newspaper, a few pages from a music score – for their research or private study. This permission applies to your child for their school work and other study (such as music lessons).

The Copyright Act does not allow people to play a music recording (for example, from a CD) or film (for example, from a video or DVD) during their lesson unless they are doing a course on making films or film soundtracks.

The Copyright Act allows people to record a radio or television broadcast, but only so they can listen to or watch it later at home – this is called time-shifting.

Your child can only record television or radio programmes for school work if the school has a broadcast copyright licence.

Copyright law allows people to make one backup copy of a computer program for backup if the original copy “dies”, not to give to friends.

To find out more about what copyright is and what copyright law covers, go to the section "What is copyright?".

Downloading from the Internet

Downloading is a form of copying. When copyright owners expressly give people permission to download their work from the Internet, they are not giving others permission to change their work.

If your child wants to change something they have downloaded from the Internet, they should make sure that the website gives them permission to change the work.

If there is no permission statement on the website, they should email the website for permission.

There are some things on the Internet that have been put there illegally, such as music tracks and movies. Downloading these is also illegal.

The Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act 2011

These links provide information in answer to some common concerns about this recent amendment to New Zealand copyright law.

What is the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act and what should schools know?

What should school's know about "Infringing file sharing"?

Can I download music and videos from YouTube? Am I breaking copyright law? 

School-only audiences

The Copyright Act permits a school to show a video or DVD, play a music CD, or perform a play or music for instructional purposes to a school-only audience.

This audience cannot include parents (unless they are staff or board of trustees members).

So if you are excluded from watching a film or a performance at school, please understand that this is the reason.

Your child's right to privacy

Privacy is not a copyright issue, but it is related. If the school takes photos or videos of your child, in which your child is clearly identifiable, they must ask your permission to use or show those images.

They may ask you to sign a permission form for one specific use of a photo or video, and/or for possible future uses.