Frequently Asked Questions

Copyright | What are my obligations under NZ copyright law?


Copying and downloading from the Internet

There is copyright in most types of material on the Internet – email messages, postings to bulletin boards, news groups and social networking sites, books, articles, reports, conference papers and other publications, music, films and videos, games, databases, websites, etc.

The fact that something is posted on the Internet does not automatically give anyone the right to download, copy, store or disseminate it, unless the author or copyright owner has specifically granted permission or waived copyright, or has made the work available via an open content licence such as a Creative Commons licence, or the Copyright Act allows this, or the work is out of copyright and in the public domain.

Users found to be illegally copying or downloading materials from the Internet may be banned from using computers in the Library.

Copying of music from library-owned CDs

Section 81A of the Copyright Act 1994 (as amended) permits copying (including format shifting) from a sound recording only where the sound recording has been legitimately acquired and is owned by the person making the copy, and only for her/his personal use or for the personal use of others in her/his household.

Copying of music from CDs or other sound recordings owned by the Library is therefore prohibited.

Downloading of music from the Internet

Music may be downloaded from the Internet, and copied onto personally-owned devices, only from web sites that legally permit downloading. A fee may be payable.

Unless the web sites specifically state that downloading of music may lawfully be undertaken, downloading is a breach of copyright and may not be undertaken on computers in the Library.

Copyright owners are entitled to take legal action against persons who infringe their copyright.

It is your personal responsibility to comply with copyright law.


The following resources provide further information on New Zealand copyright law -


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