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Crown copyright

Crown copyright protects work created or owned by the New Zealand government, including government forms, codes of practice, official press releases and public records.

Crown copyright protects work created or owned by the New Zealand government for 100 years from the end of the calendar year in which the work was made.

It covers material released or published by the Queen and her representatives, including the Governor General, government agencies, ministers and state owned enterprises.

Crown copyright is legally defined under section 26 of the Copyright Act 1994.

Note: Protection for the typographical arrangement or edition layout of a government publication expires at the end of 25 years. This covers the style, composition, layout and general appearance of a page of a published work.

Using Crown Copyright works

You may quote or reference Crown copyright works freely and without permission.

  • Content from Crown publications and web pages can be copied, accessed, viewed, reproduced and printed for non-commercial purposes. You should credit the owner (eg Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment or IPONZ) and source (eg ISBN, ISSN, ISMN or web page address).
  • All Crown information must be accurately reproduced, and exclude anything that has been officially redacted/blacked out.
  • You must not use the material in a manner that is offensive, deceptive or misleading.
  • You should contact the government ministry, agency or state-owned enterprise concerned for clearance to reproduce and recoup copying costs or re-use protected Crown copyright works. You will need permission if you intend to on-sell government information from public records and government information. You must have authorisation to use a New Zealand government logo or emblem.
  • Crown publications often make a copyright statement setting out licensing restrictions and terms of use, for example:

    ISBN 978-0-478-30398-8 (PDF)

    ISBN 978-0-478-30395-7 (HTML)

    Creative commons iconCrown copyright ©

    This copyright work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand licence. In essence, you are free to copy, distribute and adapt the work, as long as you attribute the work to the Crown and abide by the other licence terms. Please note that neither the State Services Commission emblem nor the New Zealand Government logo may be used in any which infringes any provision of the Flags, Emblems and Names Protection Act 1981 or would infringe such provision if the relevant use occurred within New Zealand. Attribution to the State Services should be in written form and not by reproduction of the State Services Commission emblem or New Zealand Government logo.

What’s not covered

No copyright exists in:

  • New Zealand legislation (Bills, Acts, regulations and bylaws)
  • Parliamentary debates
  • Select Committee reports
  • Court and tribunal judgements
  • Royal commission, commission of inquiry, ministerial and statutory inquiry reports.

Crown copyright protected material does not extend to any intellectual property owned by third parties (eg a photograph or trade mark). You must get authorisation from the third party to reproduce these items. 

Resources

  • ICT.govt.nz includes a series of practical guidance notes on applying the New Zealand Government Open Access and Licensing (NZGOAL) framework, covering website copyright statements, file formats, procuring copyright works and databases and datasets.
  • Digital NZ is an initiative led by the National Library of New Zealand and funded by the New Zealand Government. Its aim is to make New Zealand digital content more useful. This includes helping people to use digital material from New Zealand government agencies and publicly funded organisations. Their NZ collection also includes material from New Zealand libraries, museums, the private sector and community groups.