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Copyright compliance guidelines for schools

Licences for educational use of copyright material

Copyright licences enable educational use of texts, music and broadcasts without having to get individual copyright clearances. Schools pay an annual fee for the licence to a copyright collecting society. The society distributes this payment to copyright owners after deducting its administrative overheads. All of these licences can be purchased through the NZSTA:

  • CLNZ print licence assists schools to maximise resources and enjoy hassle-free copying.  For a full list of benefits go to
  • A OneMusic licence that allows for certain copying of sheet music, playing or performing of music and use of music in student films – see
  • A Screenrights Television and Radio copying licence that allows schools to copy programs from TV and radio – see

Schools that don't have copyright licences must limit their use of copyright materials in accordance with the education exceptions provided in the Copyright Act.

Copying of published works by schools

Section 44 of the Copyright Act allows schools to copy literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works for educational purposes within the following limits:

  • One copy of all or part of a work can be copied for instructional purposes so long as no more than one copy of the work is made on any one occasion.
  • Multiple copies of all or part of a work may be made so long as the copying is done by hand.
  • Multiple copies of up to 3% or 3 pages (whichever is greater) of a work can be made so long as the copying is no more than 50% of the work (this means that only half of a poem, short story or article could be copied).
  • No charge can be made for supplying the copy to students
  • No copying is allowed from the same work within 14 days

Section 46 allows schools to copy short passages from published works to include in compilations of non-copyright material within certain limitations, so long as there is sufficient acknowledgement of the original work.

Section 49 allows schools to use copyright material to set and answer examination questions.

Copying/recording of films, sound recordings and broadcast programmes

Section 45 allows schools to copy films and sound recordings to provide instruction on how to make films or sound-tracks. Sound recordings can also be copied to teach a language or where lessons are conducted by correspondence – provided there isn't a licence available to cover this use. Schools cannot charge for supplying these copies to students.

Section 48 allows for copying (and communicating) from television and radio and for copying AV from the internet, subject to the availability of a licence.  The Screenrights licence covers these uses, and with a Screenrights licence you can copy and communicate from television, radio and the internet.

Performance/showing of works

Under section 47 of the Act, students, staff members and people directly connected with the school's activities can perform, play or show a literary, dramatic or musical work, or a sound recording, film or TV show in connection with instruction (ie for educational purposes). To perform, play or show a work to students for entertainment for events such as rained out sports days, lunchtimes, special treats OR to a wider audience (including parents, guardians and the public), permission must be obtained from the copyright owner or a licensing body, regardless of whether the screening is “free” or a paid ticketed event.

Note:  Roadshow PPL offers an annual licence for student only screenings (rainy days etc). If your school would like to show a movie to a wider audience (movie night fundraisers for example), you need to obtain a Roadshow PPL single title licence. This will incur a fee but can protect your school from copyright infringement. Roadshow PPL represents most studios and distributors in this field. Contact  or phone:  (09) 820 8811 for more information.

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