Crown copyright

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 works created by persons employed or engaged under a contract of service by the New Zealand government for 100 years from the end of the calendar year in which the work was made.

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 reference Crown copyright works freely and without permission.

Should you wish to copy or reproduce a Crown copyright work, you should contact the relevant government ministry, department or, agency that created the work to obtain their authorisation to do so.

  • You will especially need their permission if you intend to on-sell  the work in question.
  • You must have authorisation from the relevant entity to use a New Zealand government logo or emblem.
  • Crown copyright works may include material such as photographs and diagrams where the copyright in that material may be owned by third parties. You must also get authorisation from the third party to copy or reproduce this material.

Crown publications will often include a copyright statement setting out licensing restrictions and terms of use. For example, a publication may include the following information:

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

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

Creative commons iconCrown copyright ©

The above information indicates that the copyright work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand licence, which allows you to copy, distribute and adapt the work, as long as you attribute the work to the Crown and abide by the other licence terms.

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand licence

Please note that different publications will have different usage requirements.

What’s not covered

Certain types of works are expressly excluded from copyright protection under section 27, including:

  • 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.

Resources 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.

NZGOAL guidance

Digital NZ

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.

Digital NZ