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Obtaining permission to copy

When what you want to do is not permitted under the Copyright Act or the terms of a copyright licence, you will need to contact the copyright owner for permission.

On this page:

Finding the copyright owner

In commercially published material there will always be a statement identifying the copyright owner or owners, such as:

"Copyright © Somewhere Press, 2006. All rights reserved"
"Copyright © Jo Bloggs, 2006".

In many cases copyright enquiries are handled by the publisher, who looks after the reprographic rights of both the author and the publisher, even when the author is the copyright owner.

Remember that the author has copyright in the literary work and the publisher has copyright in the typographical work, so clearance to copy from a published work must cover both aspects of copyright. An author does not have authority to approve the copying of the publisher's typographical work.

For other material, search for the publisher or the organisation that has produced the material. On a website there may be a copyright section or an email address for enquiries.

Finding the right person to contact may be difficult. But the fact that you can't find the right person or that they have not replied does NOT mean that you can go ahead and use the material 'because you tried hard in good faith'. If you do use material in this circumstance, the risks must be accepted by you and by your school principal and board of trustees.

Asking for permission

When asking for permission to use copyright material, you need to give as much detail as you can about who you are, how much of the material you want to use, what you want to use it for, and how long you want permission for (for example, for one occasion only, for several years).

You should make it clear whether your use is for educational purposes within the school only or not, and whether you will seek to earn or raise money through doing this. Many copyright owners are sympathetic to requests to use their work within schools for educational purposes.

Licensing agencies can sometimes help you get permission. For original literary copyright works in printed publications, you can write to Copyright Licensing New Zealand Ltd (CLNZ), which represents literary copyright owners all over the world and can give permission in most cases on behalf of copyright owners. A fee is charged for the use of the material.

View an example of a request to Copyright Licensing New Zealand Ltd
You may find that by writing directly to the actual copyright owner they may grant permission for no fee for educational use, especially where the owner is the creator (such as a New Zealand composer or painter). The challenge may be finding out who the actual creator is and how to contact them. Your success in getting a reply may vary.