Copyright Act 1994

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2 Interpretation
  • (1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,—


    • (a) In relation to a literary or dramatic work, includes—

      • (i) A translation of the work from one language to another:

      • (ii) A version of a dramatic work in which it is converted into a literary work or, as the case may be, of a literary work in which it is converted into a dramatic work:

      • (iii) A version of the work in which the story or action is conveyed wholly or mainly by means of pictures in a form suitable for reproduction in a book, or in a newspaper, magazine, or similar periodical:

    • (b) In relation to a literary work that is a computer program, includes a version of the program in which it is converted into or out of a computer language or code or into a different computer language or code, otherwise than incidentally in the course of running the program:

    • (c) In relation to a musical work, means an arrangement or transcription of the work:

    Archives New Zealand has the same meaning as in section 4 of the Public Records Act 2005

    Archives New Zealand: this definition was inserted, as from 21 April 2005, by section 67(1) Public Records Act 2005 (2005 No 40).

    Article, in relation to an article in a periodical, includes an item of any description

    Artistic work

    • (a) Means—

      • (i) A graphic work, photograph, sculpture, collage, or model, irrespective of artistic quality; or

      • (ii) A work of architecture, being a building or a model for a building; or

      • (iii) A work of artistic craftsmanship, not falling within subparagraph (i) or subparagraph (ii) of this definition; but

    • (b) Does not include a layout design or an integrated circuit within the meaning of section 2 of the Layout Designs Act 1994:

    Authorised, with respect to anything done in relation to a work, means done—

    • (a) By or with the licence of the copyright owner; or

    • (b) Pursuant to section 62 of this Act:

    Broadcast means a transmission, whether or not encrypted, of a programme by wireless communication, where the transmission is—

    • (a) Capable of being lawfully received, in New Zealand or elsewhere, by members of the public; or

    • (b) For presentation to members of the public in New Zealand or elsewhere;—

    and broadcasting has a corresponding meaning

    Building includes—

    • (a) Any fixed structure; and

    • (b) A part of a building or fixed structure:

    Business includes a trade or profession

    Collective work means—

    • (a) A work of joint authorship; or

    • (b) A work in which there are distinct contributions by different authors or in which works, or parts of works, of different authors are incorporated:

    Compilation includes—

    • (a) A compilation consisting wholly of works or parts of works; and

    • (b) A compilation consisting partly of works or parts of works; and

    • (c) A compilation of data other than works or parts of works:

    Computer-generated, in relation to a work, means that the work is generated by computer in circumstances such that there is no human author of the work

    Convention country, except in Part 9, means an entity that is a party to an international agreement or arrangement relating to copyright

    Convention country: this definition was substituted, as from 14 October 1999, by section 3(2) Copyright Amendment Act 1999 (1999 No 124).


    • (a) Means, in relation to any description of work, reproducing or recording the work in any material form; and

    • (b) Includes, in relation to a literary, dramatic, musical, or artistic work, storing the work in any medium by any means; and

    • (c) Includes, in relation to an artistic work, the making of a copy in 3 dimensions of a two-dimensional work and the making of a copy in 2 dimensions of a three-dimensional work; and

    • (d) Includes, in relation to a film, television broadcast, or cable programme, the making of a photograph of the whole or any substantial part of any image forming part of the film, broadcast, or cable programme;—

    and copy and copies have corresponding meanings

    Copyright licence means a licence to do, or authorise the doing of, any restricted act

    Copyright work means a work of any of the descriptions in section 14(1) of this Act in which copyright exists

    Country includes every territory for whose international relations the Government of that country is responsible


    • (a) Means Her Majesty the Queen in right of New Zealand; and

    • (b) Includes a Minister of the Crown, a government department, and an Office of Parliament; but

    Crown entity has the same meaning as it has in section 2(1) of the Public Finance Act 1989

    Director, in relation to a copyright work that is a film, includes any person nominated by the director of the film to exercise the director's rights under Part 4 of this Act if—

    • (a) The nomination is in writing and signed by the director; and

    • (b) The nomination is made before the completion of the making of the film; and

    • (c) The person nominated makes a creative contribution to the making of the film:

    Dramatic work includes—

    • (a) A work of dance or mime; and

    • (b) A scenario or script for a film:

    Educational establishment means—

    • (b) Any—

      • (i) Special school; or

      • (ii) Special class; or

      • (iii) Special clinic; or

      • (iv) Special service—

      established under section 98(1) of the Education Act 1964:

    • (e) Any—

      • (i) Institution; or

      • (ii) Private training establishment; or

      • (iii) Government training establishment—

      within the meaning of section 159(1) of the Education Act 1989, that is not conducted for profit:

    • (f) Any body, or class of body, that is not conducted for profit and that is approved by the Minister of Education as an educational establishment for the purposes of this Act by a notice published in the Gazette:

    Electronic means actuated by electric, magnetic, electro-magnetic, electro-chemical, or electro-mechanical energy; and in electronic form means in a form usable only by electronic means

    Employed means employed under a contract of service or a contract of apprenticeship; and employee, employer, and employment have corresponding meanings

    Exclusive licence means a licence in writing, signed by or on behalf of a copyright owner, authorising the licensee, to the exclusion of all other persons (including the copyright owner), to exercise a right that would otherwise be exercisable exclusively by the copyright owner

    Facsimile copy includes a copy that is reduced or enlarged in scale

    Film means a recording on any medium from which a moving image may by any means be produced

    Future copyright means copyright that will or may come into existence in respect of a future work or a class of future work or on the occurrence of a future event

    Government means the Executive Government of New Zealand

    Government department means any department or instrument of the Government, or any branch or division of any such department or instrument; but does not include—

    • (a) A body corporate or other legal entity that has the power to contract:

    • (b) An Office of Parliament:

    • (c) Public Trust:

    • (d) The Export Guarantee Office:

    Government department: paragraph (c) of this definition was substituted, as from 1 March 2002, by section 170(1) Public Trust Act 2001 (2001 No 100). See clause 2 Public Trust Act Commencement Order 2002 (SR 2002/11).

    Graphic work includes—

    • (a) Any painting, drawing, diagram, map, chart, or plan; and

    • (b) Any engraving, etching, lithograph, woodcut, print, or similar work:

    Infringing copy has the meaning given by section 12

    Infringing copy: this definition was inserted, as from 19 May 1998, by section 3 Copyright (Removal of Prohibition on Parallel Importing) Amendment Act 1998 (1998 No 20). See section 9 of that Act as to there being no compensation for diminution in rights attaching to copyright.

    Instruction means—

    • (a) Giving a lesson, either in person or by correspondence, to a student or a group of students, at an educational establishment or elsewhere; or

    • (b) Receiving a lesson, either in person or by correspondence and either alone or in a group of students, at an educational establishment or elsewhere:

    International organisation means an organisation the members of which include one or more states

    Judicial proceedings includes—

    • (a) Proceedings before any court, tribunal, or person having authority to decide any matter affecting a person's legal rights or liabilities; and

    • (b) Proceedings before any other body that is prescribed by regulations made under this Act as a judicial body for the purposes of this Act:

    Lawful user, in relation to a computer program, means a person who has a right to use the program, whether under a copyright licence or otherwise

    Licensing body means a body of persons (whether corporate or unincorporate) that, as copyright owner or prospective copyright owner or as agent for a copyright owner,—

    • (a) Negotiates copyright licences; and

    • (b) Grants copyright licences, including licences that cover the works of more than one author:

    Licensing scheme means a scheme setting out—

    • (a) The classes of cases in which the operator of the scheme, or the person on whose behalf the operator acts, is willing to grant copyright licences; and

    • (b) The terms on which copyright licences would be granted in those classes of cases;—

    and for the purpose of this definition a scheme includes anything in the nature of a scheme, whether described as a scheme or as a tariff or by any other name

    Literary work means any work, other than a dramatic or musical work, that is written, spoken, or sung; and includes—

    • (a) A table or compilation; and

    • (b) A computer program:

    Material time,—

    • (a) In relation to a literary, dramatic, musical, or artistic work, means,—

      • (i) In the case of an unpublished work, when the work is made or, if the making of the work extends over a period, a substantial part of that period; and

      • (ii) In the case of a published work, when the work is first published or, if the author has died before that time, immediately before his or her death; and

    • (b) In relation to a sound recording or film, means when the work is made or, if the making of the work extends over a period, a substantial part of that period; and

    • (c) In relation to a broadcast, means when the broadcast is made; and

    • (d) In relation to a cable programme, means when the programme is included in a cable programme service; and

    • (e) In relation to a typographical arrangement of a published edition, means when the edition is first published:

    Minister means the Minister of the Crown who, under the authority of any warrant or with the authority of the Prime Minister, is for the time being responsible for the administration of this Act

    Minister: substituted, as from 1 October 1995, by section 10(3) Department of Justice (Restructuring) Act 1995 (1995 No 39).

    Ministerial inquiry includes the proceedings of a committee set up by the Government or a Minister or Ministers to inquire into or advise on any matter

    Musical work means a work consisting of music, exclusive of any words intended to be sung or spoken with the music or any actions intended to be performed with the music

    National Archives


    National Archives: this definition was repealed, as from 21 April 2005, by section 67(1) Public Records Act 2005 (2005 No 40).

    New Zealand includes Tokelau

    Office of Parliament means—

    • (a) The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (and that Commissioner's office):

    • (b) The Office of Ombudsmen:

    • (c) The Auditor-General:

    • (d) The Parliamentary Counsel Office:

    Office of Parliament: paragraph (c) of this definition was substituted, as from 1 July 2001, by section 53 Public Audit Act 2001 (2001 No 10).

    Performance, except in Part 9 of this Act,—

    • (a) In the case of a literary work that is a lecture, address, speech, or sermon, includes delivery of that work; and

    • (b) In general, includes any mode of visual or acoustic presentation of a literary, dramatic, musical, or artistic work, including presentation of the work by means of a sound recording, film, broadcast, or cable programme:

    Photograph means a recording of light or other radiation on any medium on which an image is produced or from which an image may by any means be produced; but does not include a film or part of a film

    Plate includes any stereotype, stone, block, mould, matrix, transfer, negative, or other similar appliance

    Prescribed foreign country means any country (other than New Zealand)—

    • (a) To which section 230 of this Act applies; or

    • (b) That is declared by Order in Council made under section 232 of this Act to be a foreign country to which any provision of this Act applies; and, with respect to the application of any provision of this Act to such a country, the provision shall be read subject to the terms of that Order in Council:

    Proceedings includes a counterclaim; and references to the plaintiff and to the defendant in proceedings shall be construed accordingly

    Published edition means a published edition of the whole or any part of one or more literary, dramatic, or musical works


    Rental means any arrangement under which a copy of a work is made available—

    • (a) For payment (in money or money's worth); or

    • (b) In the course of a business, as part of services or amenities for which payment is made,—

    on terms that it will or may be returned

    Reprographic copy means a copy made by a reprographic process; and reprographic copying has a corresponding meaning

    Reprographic process means a process—

    • (a) For making facsimile copies; or

    • (b) Involving the use of an appliance for making multiple copies;—

    and includes, in relation to a work held in electronic form, any copying by electronic means; but does not include the making of a film or sound recording

    Restricted act means any of the acts described in section 16 of this Act

    Sculpture includes a cast or model made for purposes of sculpture

    Sound recording means—

    • (a) A recording of sounds, from which the sounds may be reproduced; or

    • (b) A recording of the whole or any part of a literary, dramatic, or musical work, from which sounds reproducing the work or part may be produced,—

    regardless of the medium on which the recording is made or the method by which the sounds are reproduced or produced

    Statutory inquiry means an inquiry held or investigation conducted in pursuance of a duty imposed or power conferred by or under an enactment

    Sufficient acknowledgement, in relation to a work, means an acknowledgement identifying—

    • (a) The work by its title or other description; and

    • (b) The author of the work, unless,—

      • (i) In the case of a published work, it is published anonymously:

      • (ii) In the case of an unpublished work, it is not possible by reasonable inquiry to ascertain the identity of the author:

    Telecommunications system means a system for conveying visual images, sounds, or other information by electronic means

    Transcript means a written record of words spoken on a recording

    Tribunal means the Copyright Tribunal continued by section 205 of this Act

    Unauthorised, with respect to anything done in relation to a work, means done otherwise than—

    • (a) By or with the licence of the copyright owner; or

    • (b) Pursuant to section 62 of this Act:

    Wireless communication means the sending of electromagnetic energy over paths not provided by a material substance constructed or arranged for that purpose

    Working day means any day of the week other than—

    • (a) Saturday, Sunday, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Anzac Day, Labour Day, the Sovereign's birthday, and Waitangi Day; and

    • (b) A day in the period commencing with the 25th day of December in any year and ending with the 15th day of January in the following year:

    Writing includes any form of notation or code, whether by hand or otherwise and regardless of the method by which, or medium in or on which, it is recorded; and written has a corresponding meaning.

    (2) References in this Act to the time at which a literary, dramatic, or musical work is made are to the time at which the work is recorded, in writing or otherwise.

    Compare: Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, ss 1(2), 3(1), 3(2), 4, 5(1), 6(1), 8(1), 16(1), 19(2), 21(3), 21(4), 92(1), 178 (UK); 1962 No 33 ss 2(1), 3(6), 3(8), 17(1), 24(5), 26(9), 36(1); 1989 No 44 s 2