Licensing copyright


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Licensing copyright

Copyright owners can appoint a licensing agency (often called a collective agency or society) to licence their rights on a collective basis. This can be a simple and cost-effective solution for both the copyright owners and users.

A licensing agency will monitor the use of works, and collect licence fees on the owners’ behalf. The licensed users (sometimes called subscribers) gain permission to use all the works in the collection under the terms and conditions of the collective licence.

New Zealand and Australasian licensing agencies

These organisations are authorised to grant copyright licences for particular purposes and collect licence fees (royalties) on behalf of copyright owners.

  • Copyright Licensing New Zealand (CLNZ) is a not-for-profit organisation jointly owned by the Publishers’ Association of New Zealand and New Zealand Society of Authors. CLNZ have agreements with the majority of New Zealand publishers and offer both commercial and education licences.
  • Print Media Copyright Agency is a division of the New Zealand Press Association Limited and provides licences to organisations wanting to use articles appearing in all of the New Zealand daily newspapers and a wide selection of magazines and community publications.
  • OneMusic is a joint initiative between the Australasian Performing Rights Association and Recorded Music NZ. The single OneMusic licence covers both the copyright in the music (owned by the songwriters) and the recording (owned by the record company/artists).
  • Copyright Agency is Australia and New Zealand’s not-for-profit rights management agency for visual artworks.
  • Screenrights provides education licences that allow educational institutions to copy television and radio broadcasts.
  • Playmarket is a not-for-profit organisation that issues and manages performance licences, manages royalty payments and circulates plays to producers and theatres in New Zealand and internationally.

Creative Commons (CC) licences

Creative Commons (CC) licences are designed for copyright owners who want to share their work without receiving payment/royalties. CC licences use icons and acronyms to show how the copyright owner wants to be acknowledged and the limitations on how the work can be used.

CC licence elements




BY icon



Must credit the original creator.

NC icon



Not allowed to share, adapt or reuse the work for commercial advantage of monetary compensation.

ND icon


No derivatives

Not allowed to change the work.

SA icon



Allowed to change the work but the new adaptation or remix must carry the same CC licence.

These four licencing elements (icon or acronym) are combined to make six CC licences. 

It’s advisable for CC licence holders to also use a copyright indicator © so that people know:

  • Who the owner is
    Someone who sees your CC-licensed work might like to contact you. It could be another artist that wants to work with you, or someone who wants to commission work from you.
  • When the work was first created
    This is important for calculating when the work comes out of copyright and the CC licence will no longer apply.

To learn more about CC licencing and using CC licensed work, visit Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand.