New Zealand Copyright for Musicians[1]

New Zealand Copyright for Musicians[1]

by Mark von Dadelszen, Consultant, Bannister & von Dadelszen, Solicitors, Hastings   What is copyright? Copyright is a property right that comes into existence automatically in respect of original qualifying works, and it applies to a wide range of items including toilet pan connectors, kiwifruit trays, clothing, and musical scores, with original literary and musical works being expressly listed as such qualifying works (Copyright Act 1994, section 14). Copyright is owned (with a small number of exceptions) by the creator or author of the work, or by anyone who has paid or agreed to pay for a commissioned work, and copyright ownership can be transferred and use of copyright work can be the subject of licences. The discussion that follows summarises the implications for musicians of most of these issues as well as infringement of copyright. Ownership of copyright gives the owner the exclusive right under section 16, Copyright Act 1994, to: Copy the work, To issue copies of the work to the public, To perform the work in public, To play the work in public, To show the work in public, To communicate the work to the public, To make an adaptation of the work, To do (a) to (f) above to an adaptation of the work, and To authorise another person to do any of the acts referred to in (a) to (h) above. Copyright does not exist indefinitely. Copyright only attaches to literary and musical works until 50 years from the end of the calendar year in which the author dies. If there is more than one author (such as composer of a musical score and...