In many circumstances, publishers do not need permission to copy or do other restricted activities in relation to third party material and similarly, others do not need to seek permission from publishers to use their material.
Using less than a substantial part
Copyright issues do not arise unless you are using a “substantial part” of a copyright work. Refer to the article of this knowledge base on infringement of copyright.
Generally names, titles and headlines are not protected by copyright as they are considered so commonplace and unoriginal that copyright is simply not ascribed to them. In addition, short stand-alone texts (such as slogans or tweets) will often not give rise to copyright issues as they may not be sufficient to be a literary work for copyright purposes.
Even where names, titles, headlines and extracts are protected as part of a greater work, copying of those individual aspects usually will not infringe copyright in the whole work as it would not be considered a substantial part. Note however that names may be protected under other areas of the law, such as trademark.
Where copyright has expired
Material in which copyright has expired is sometimes referred to as being in the “public domain”. Anyone may copy or publish a public domain work without the requirement to get permission. Where a public domain work is published (or republished), the publisher owns copyright in the typographical layout of that particular edition and during the period of the publisher’s copyright, may prevent someone else making an exact copy of the edition. However, the copyright in the work itself (such as the story, poem or play) is not revived by the republishing; anyone can still reproduce all or parts of it.
Generally, if you or your organisation owns copyright in a work you will not need to get permission to copy. However, care needs to be taken in making assumptions as to who owns certain rights in “in-house” material, because there may be restrictions on its use.
Under the Copyright Act, some specific types of public documents do not have copyright protection, such as statutes, court judgments and official reports. However, the format in which some material is published may be protected by copyright as a typographical arrangement.
If a statutory exception applies, also known as a “permitted use”, permission is not required to use copyright material. For publishers, consideration of the statutory exceptions may be more relevant in circumstances where others wish to use material that publishers own. In summary, the main types of exceptions are:
Fair dealing – which apply to people engaged in news reporting, criticism or review and research or private study. Refer below under “Fair Dealing”.
Exceptions applicable to particular kinds of institutions or users – limited exceptions that apply in the educational context, in libraries and archives and in public administration.
Exceptions for particular uses in specific circumstances – a collection of ad hoc exceptions. For example: the use of works where the author is unknown and it is reasonable to assume copyright has expired or that the author died at least 50 years ago; photographing and publishing photos of a building or sculpture permanently situated in a public place or in premises open to the public.
There can be significant differences between the copyright exceptions in NZ and those under the law of other countries. For example, NZ does not have a general “fair use” defence as exists in United States copyright law. In addition, some other countries allow the use of third party copyright material for the purposes of parody and satire. There is currently no equivalent copyright exception in NZ.
Often permission is not needed to use materials that you have subscribed to, such as CD ROMs and online databases. However, often the use will be governed by contract terms which must be adhered to. Again, it cannot be assumed that you can make unlimited use of subscription materials.
Creative Commons is an organisation that has developed a standardised set of copyright licences. Some creators use Creative Commons licences to give particular rights in their digital copyright material to the public without users needing to ask. If you wish to make use of material available under a Creative Commons licence, it is a good idea to familiarise yourself with the rights and restrictions under the particular licence. See the Creative Commons website for more information.
Publishers can use the checklist in this knowledge base to determine whether permission is needed to use third party material.