The first place to look is on the material you want to use. For example imprint pages on books (at the beginning of the printed work), on CD/DVD packaging, the copyright notice at the end of a film or TV credits.
If a work has been published (for example, a story, article or illustration in a book or journal), contact the publisher in the first instance. Even if the publisher doesn't own the copyright, they can usually tell you who you need to contact.
Licensing agencies are often a good source of information. If they can’t help, they may be able to assist you in locating the appropriate person.
Professional associations of copyright creators or owners may also be a useful source of information.
When trying to find a copyright owner, it's important to remember that:
- The owner of a physical item is not necessarily the copyright owner. For example, a museum may own a work of art in its collection but not the copyright in it.
- The creator of the copyright work may not always be the copyright owner. For example, the creator may have created the work during his or her employment, or may have assigned (transferred) copyright to another person.
- There may be more than one copyright owner. For example, copyright might be jointly owned by two or more people, or there may be more than one copyright in a single work, each separately owned. You may need permission to copy one work from several copyright owners.
- If the creator of a work has died, or a corporate copyright owner has gone out of business, this does not necessarily mean that copyright has expired. Intestacy law, or the will of a deceased person, may determine who inherited copyright owned by the person when they died. If a company goes into liquidation, generally the liquidator takes over the company’s assets (including any copyright).
Organisations that can help you identify a copyright owner
The following is a list of useful organisations who may be able to help you identify and locate a copyright owner to request permission to use a work. In some cases (where indicated), the organisation may be authorised to provide certain licences on behalf of copyright owners.
Printed material (books, journals, dramatic works)
- Copyright Licensing New Zealand (CLNZ) – A copyright collective that licences the reproduction of material from books and journals on behalf of the majority of New Zealand and many overseas publishers and authors.
- Publishers Association of New Zealand (PANZ) – Represents book publishers and distributors in New Zealand. Publishes a directory of its members which provides contact details for each member and a summary of the type of publishing each undertakes.
- New Zealand Society of Authors – Represents the professional interests of New Zealand writers and illustrators in New Zealand and internationally.
- New Zealand Writers Guild – A professional association of script writers and a registered trade union.
- Print Media Copyright Agency – Authorised by the publishers of certain newspapers and magazines to grant licences to reproduce cuttings.
- Libraries, including the National Library of New Zealand.
Music and sound recordings
- Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) – Represents songwriters and music publishers in providing licences to broadcast and publicly perform music in public (such as in shops, restaurants and other businesses) in New Zealand and Australia.
- Recorded Music NZ – Represents the interests of recording labels and recording artists, including licensing to broadcast and publically perform sound and video recordings in New Zealand.
- OneMusic - A joint initiative between APRA and Recorded Music NZ (previously PPNZ Music Licensing), offering a single music licence to businesses and organisations using music in public.
- Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (AMCOS) – (Administered by APRA) Provides licences for the reproduction of copyright music in New Zealand and Australia.
- Independent Music New Zealand (IMNZ) – A trade organisation set up to provide a voice for the interests of New Zealand-owned independent recording labels and distributors.
- Christian Copyright Licensing International – Provides licences for reproduction of Christian music.
Visual art and photographs
- Viscopy – A visual artists’ collecting Society.
- Artists’ Alliance – A membership based organisation representing the professional interests of New Zealand visual artists.
- NZ Institute of Professional Photography – Represents the professional photographic industry in New Zealand.
- Advertising and Illustrative Photographers Association – Represents professional photographers working in advertising, editorial and illustrative areas.
- Galleries and museums.
Films, TV programmes, DVDs and videos
- Screen Production and Development Association (SPADA) – Represents the collective interests of independent producers and production companies on all issues that affect the business and creative aspects of independent screen production in New Zealand.
- Motion Picture Distributors Association of New Zealand (MPDA) – Represents major international film studios and the distribution of their motion pictures.
- Screenrights – Licenses film, television and radio works for use by educational institutions.
- Playmarket – Provides licences for the performance of New Zealand plays.