Friday 23 June 2017

Know your copy-rights!

In this digital age, sharing resources is easier than it has ever been before. Teachers can collaborate with colleagues not just around the country, but around the world. Sharing can save time and money: maybe someone has already made what you need and put it online.

But what about copyright?
If you’ve created a teaching resource, who owns the copyright? What if you’ve made a resource and you’ve included somebody else’s work in it – who owns the rights and how can you use or share it?
Copyright law can be tricky territory, so Creative Commons Aotearoa NZ has produced a new video and handbook to help teachers with Creative Commons licensing and some basic copyright facts. Download the handbook for free at: You can watch the video here:
Under the New Zealand Copyright Act 1994, an employer (for schools this is the Board of Trustees) holds the copyright to all original teaching resources that teachers create in the course of their employment – in other words, those resources that are created solely by the teacher and do not include someone else’s copyright material. If teachers want to share these resources or take them to another job, they should seek the Board’s express permission to avoid infringing copyright.
Copyright owners – including Boards of Trustees – can give permission, or ‘license’, others to reuse their own copyright works according to terms that they specify. Creative Commons has developed a set of free, legally robust and ‘human-readable’ licences that copyright owners can apply to let other people know how their work can be used, without having to seek permission. These licences are designed to be fairly open, enabling the sharing, adaptation and reuse of copyright works. Creative Commons licences can help where schools and teachers would like to share their own original resources more openly.
For this to happen, schools can adopt a Creative Commons policy, which clarifies the school’s position on how they want to use Creative Commons licences for copyright works belonging to the Board of Trustees.
Visit for more information and to get template policies, how-to guides, and handy posters.
By Elizabeth Heritage, Creative Commons NZ
If you want to get more involved, you can join in at one of Creative Commons NZ’s Open Educational Resource (OER) Sprints in 2016. These bring together teachers, librarians, academics, technologists, editors – and maybe even a few lawyers – for a day or weekend to collaboratively produce educational resources that will be made available for anyone to access, adapt and reuse.
We want to grow a Commons of OERs so that teachers in New Zealand and the world have free and open access to educational resources. All are welcome! Go to
Please get in touch with any questions: