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If you have created an original work, such as a website or computer program, you may want to let others know that it is protected under copyright law. To do this, you can use the term all rights reserved. However, this term does not have a legal meaning under New Zealand law. Other ways to claim copyright on your work include a copyright notice and the copyright symbol ©. This article explains what the term all rights reserved means and how to protect your work under New Zealand copyright laws. 

What Does All Rights Reserved Mean?

The term all rights reserved has no legal significance in New Zealand. However, copyright owners often use this term with a copyright notice, to signal to others that their work is protected under copyright laws. Therefore, the work cannot be copied, distributed or adapted without their permission. Another way to demonstrate that you claim copyright in a particular work is to use the symbol ©.

How to Protect Your Work Under New Zealand Copyright Laws

The term copyright refers to the exclusive rights given to owners of original works, such as artwork, books, websites, computer programs, drawings, plays, films, music, and sound recordings. In New Zealand, there is no formal system for the registration of copyright. If you create an original work, you receive automatic protection under the Copyright Act. However, you should include a copyright statement on your work to let others know that they cannot copy it or deal with it in any other way restricted by copyright. 

In most cases, the Copyright Act protects your work during your lifetime, plus 50 years. This protection period depends on the category of your work and the date when you created it. 

How to Licence Your Rights  

As a copyright holder, you can license others under your copyright or even sell it. If you choose to grant a licence to someone, you can specify:

  • how they can use your work; and 
  • how much they need to pay to use it.

A simple and cost-effective solution to licence your rights is to appoint a licensing agency. Agents monitor the use of your works and collect licence fees on your behalf. You can find a list of licensing agencies on the IPONZ website.  

Do You Need a Copyright Notice on Your Website?

If you outsource the design or development of your own website, you can ask the designer and developer of the site to assign their copyright to you. To do this, you both need to sign a Website Design and Development Agreement. This agreement sets out the requirements of the website and the rights and obligations of each party. When drafting your contract, make sure that it grants protection worldwide, as your website is accessible around the world, and fully transferable, in case you sell your business. It is a good idea to ask your lawyer to review this agreement before you sign it.

Your website should communicate your Terms of Use to your visitors in a visible or easy-to-find location. These rules set out what they can and cannot do when interacting with your website, such as not using your content for unauthorised reproduction. You should also include a disclaimer to limit your liability for the use of your website, for example, when a virus infects the user’s computer. 

Tip: It is best practice to ask your visitors to tick a box explicitly consenting that they agree to your Website Terms of Use. If this is not possible, you need to use other reasonable methods to make your website visitors aware of your Terms of Use.

Key Takeaways 

You can use the term all rights reserved to let others know that a work you have produced is protected under copyright laws. Generally, copyright owners also use a copyright notice or statement to protect their work from unauthorised copying, distribution or adaptation. When you produce original works, such as a website or computer program, New Zealand copyright laws automatically covers your work. You do not have to register with an official body or organisation. You can licence your copyrighted work to others or sell it. The most efficient way to do this is through a licensing agency. When you outsource the design and development of your website to an agency or freelancer, you can ask them to assign their copyright to you using a Website Design and Development Agreement.

If you need help to understand your intellectual property rights or to draft a Website Design and Development Agreement, LegalVision’s intellectual property lawyers can help. Call 0800 005 570 or fill out the form on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between all rights reserved and copyright?

Copyright owners use the term all rights reserved along with a copyright notice to let others know that their work is protected under copyright laws. In New Zealand, you receive automatic copyright protection when you produce original works, such as a computer program. This means others cannot reproduce, distribute or adapt it without obtaining a licence from you and paying a fee.

How do you get something copyrighted?

In New Zealand, you are granted automatic copyright protection under the Copyright Act when you produce original works. You do not have to register with a professional body. In most cases, you are protected for your lifetime plus 50 years. However, this depends on the category of your work and the date when you created it. Some writers choose to register with a guild to assist them in establishing the completion dates of their literary works.

What does copyright protect?

The term copyright refers to the exclusive rights given to owners of original works, such as artwork, books, websites, computer programs, drawings, plays, films, music, and sound recordings. This means others cannot adapt, reproduce, distribute or show the work in public without obtaining a licence and paying a fee to the owner. The IPONZ and MBIE websites list the full details and exceptions.

What is an example of a copyright violation?

Some examples of copyright infringement or violation include copying, selling, performing, or communicating an original work without obtaining prior written permission in New Zealand or overseas. This includes pirating films and music, copying content from someone’s website or using someone else’s images without their consent.

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