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Ministry of Education.
Kaua e rangiruatia te hāpai o te hoe; e kore to tātou waka e ū ki uta

Intellectual property in Technology teaching: Brief definitions: Copyright


Copyright protects original written works, computer programs, music, art and designs, photographs videos, movies, broadcasts, tape recordings, and CDs, in whatever format they are available – including online.

The copyright owner can legally prevent others copying her work, issuing copies to the public (such as by selling), making an adaptation of the work (such as writing a film script from a book), performing, playing, showing or broadcasting the work in public.

Copyright comes into effect immediately – there is no need for registration.

Protection lasts for a certain term of years, depending on the kind of work and the country: for instance, in New Zealand, a written work is copyright for the lifetime of the author and another 50 years. Once the term of copyright has expired, the work falls into the public domain for anyone to use. The works of William Shakespeare, for example, are no longer copyright and anyone can publish them or adapt them for other media, such as the cinema. However a published edition has its own copyright, usually for 25 years, so a recently published volume of Shakespeare's plays cannot be photocopied without permission from the publisher

Copyright in industrial designs

Designs that are industrially applied are protected in New Zealand by copyright for a term of 16 years. 'Industrially applied' means when more than 50 copies of the article are made, or the article is produced in lengths such as sheets or piping. The copyright actually protects the 2-D drawings or plans (as artistic works) from which the 3-D products are then manufactured.
Most overseas copyright laws do not protect industrial designs. Overseas manufacturers need to apply for a patent or a registered design.

Copyright and fair dealing

Copyright is not a monopoly like a patent or registered design; the defence of fair dealing applies to some uses of copyright works that are permitted by law for the public benefit. The reason for the defence is partly because the copyright term is much longer than other IP rights. The problem is that only the courts can decide what is fair – so it can be risky to rely upon fair dealing.
Examples where the defence is likely to apply include copying small excepts of a copyright work for a person's own private study or research provided it is 'fair' to do so (in rare circumstance this could be a full copy), and quoting extensively from a copyright work for criticism or review.

Moral rights

Moral rights are a way of acknowledging the reputation of an author of certain copyright works and are particularly important when the copyright in the work does not belong to the author – for instance because the copyright belongs to their employer or their publisher. The term of moral rights is the same as the term of copyright.

The author retains the right to be acknowledged as the author of the work but she must assert that right. The author also has the moral right not to have her work subjected to derogatory treatment which might damage her reputation – for instance reproducing her artistic work as a cartoon, or republishing her work commercially when it is out of date and incorrect. A third moral right is that of wrongful attribution. This means wrongfully stating that a certain person created a copyright work when in fact they did not.
Moral rights do not apply to all copyright works – one important exception is computer programs.

Copyright licences

Collecting societies: the Copyright Act permits some uses of copyright works for educational and library purposes. However, the permitted uses are very limited and not adequate for much teaching – for instance where multiple copies of copyright literary works are needed for students. New Zealand schools and universities therefore pay for a copyright licence from a collecting society representing authors and publishers (Copyright Licensing Ltd). The CLL licence provides teachers with the ability to make multiple copies of parts of copyright literary works for teaching purposes. In return CLL pays royalties to authors and publishers whose works are copied for educational purposes. However the CLL Licence is strictly limited in its scope – see the CLL website at www.copyright.co.nz. Similar collecting societies (APRA and AMCOS) grant permissions for the performance and use of recordings of copyright music both in schools and commercially.

Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand: Creative Commons is an international organisation that provides a selection of free downloadable licences for copyright authors to attach to their digital works. There are six basic licences to choose from. The least restrictive licence permits others to add to or amend a work, even for commercial reasons, provided they acknowledge the original author. The most restrictive licence allows others to download and share works with others so long as they mention the authors and link back to them, but they cannot change the work in any way or use it commercially.
The original Creative Commons licences were based on US copyright law and have been used internationally for some time. New Zealand has recently developed its own versions based upon our own copyright law. These are more appropriate for New Zealand copyright owners. For more information and the downloadable Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand Licences see: www.creativecommons.org.nz. See the case study Nancy's Embroidery Shop for examples.

Developed for the Technology Online site from a study by Susan Corbett, Louise Starkey and Ann Bondy, Victoria University of Wellington

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