VirtualMV/Digital Learning Technologies/Ethical issues/Copyright

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are exclusive rights given to owners for their creations. (Copyright 2009). It protects compilations of data and multimedia works, films being the moving images on a video or DVD.

Two aspects

  1. Copyright on your original material and
  2. Copyright on that material of others, including
    1. Those you have permission to use (maybe supplied by your client)
    2. Those you have included from other sources (e.g. the web)

Original material

The best way to avoid issues with copyright is to create your own original content.

  • Include (c) symbol and usage policy
  • When working with a client make sure your contract clearly identifies how ownership is to be handled (e.g. design, software (including the actual code), content)

Owners of films have the exclusive right to:

  • Copy their material
  • Issue copies for the public for the first time
  • Rent copies to the public
  • Play or show their material in public
  • Communicate their material to the public.

Although this is not a requirement, it clearly identifies your material by using the symbol, the name of the copyright owner and the first year of publication i.e. ©Raihania 2011.

Copyright in New Zealand lasts for the lifetime of the author plus fifty (50) years from the end of the year of when the author died.

Performers have some limited rights to control the recording and live transmission of their performances. It is advisable to have a Talent Release Form completed by your actors to clarify copyright issues with the commissioner.

Content from others

  • Ask permission.
  • Check use policies
  • Acknowledge the copyright holder (in academia this is often done through citing and referencing)
  • Put disclaimer (particularly in a web site where others can add content - e.g. wiki)
  • Check your site regularly for additions and remove unauthorised content, or provide a mechanism for user reporting.

Can I use that?

Copyright - A flow chart poster from a research project Art at Risk: Copyright, Fair Dealings and Art in the Digital Age by Dr Susan Ballard and Pam McKinlay, 2010 - Otago Polytechnic

New Zealand Copyright

In April 2011 the New Zealand Government passed the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act 2011. This act amends the Copyright Act 1994 to provide content owners (Rights holders) of copyrighted works such as movies, TV shows and music with a quicker and easier way to penalise people infringing their copyright (from illegal downloading). Under this legislation, from the 11th of August 2011 rights holders can begin to monitor for Internet access which breaches their copyright, and to begin sending infringement notices for breaches of copyright from the 1st of September 2011. This change affects all users of all systems at NZ institutions (and companies ), including staff, students, casual users, students in residential villages, business on campus using the institutions internet access, irrespective of location.

A successful infringement allegation can see the institution being fined up to $15,000.00 per infringement with the potential of having the internet connection being cut for up to six months for all users.

(based on an EIT all staff email)

Case studies

Copyright attached to photographer

macaque monkey self portrait

Technically, in most cases, whoever makes the actual work gets the copyright. That is, if you hand your camera to a stranger to take your photo, technically that stranger holds the copyright on the photo, though no one ever enforces this. A story involving an award winning nature photographer, David Slater, who was in Indonesia in a national park. At some point, he left the camera unattended, and apparently a macaque monkey wandered over and took this hilarious self-portrait.

So here's the legal question: Who owns the copyright? Apart from the photo shown left, two other photos were submitted to and have a Carters copyright(see the reference). How has there been a legal transfer. The monkeys were unlikely to have sold or licensed the work. The assumption is that it's likely that the photographer, Slater, probably submitted the photos to the agency, and from a common sense view of things, that would make perfect sense. But from a letter-of-the-law view of things, Slater almost certainly does not hold the copyrights on those images, and has no legal right to then sell, license or assign them to Caters.


VmvIcon References.png References

  1. Monkey Business: Can A Monkey License Its Copyrights To A News Agency? (2011) Retrieved from
  2. Copyright Act 1994 Public Act – New Zealand Legislation. (n.d.). Retrieved April 15, 2010, from
  3. Hofman,J. (2009)Introducing Copyright. A plain language guide to copyright in the 21st century. Retrieved July 30, 2009 from
  4. Copyright Council of New Zealand (2006a).Rationale - Why is copyright important?. Retrieved April 2, 2009, from

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VirtualMV/Digital Learning Technologies/Ethical issues/Copyright. (2024). In WikiEducator/VirtualMV wiki. Retrieved May 24, 2024, from http:    (zotero)