by Distance Learning


What you need to know about copyright while you are studying at Otago.


What you need to know about copyright while you are studying at Otago.

Your own work

As a student, you are the creator of material: essays, reports, blogs, photographs, diagrams, charts, etc., – if you created it, you own copyright automatically.

Your work may, of course, include excerpts of others’ work, which you would attribute according to referencing customs in your discipline. For Graduate Research students, there is a specific policy that covers the work you produce. This policy can be found on here.

This confirms that you own your own copyright but also clarifies things like the effect of external funding, commercial value generated out of your work, and the sometimes tricky aspects of supervisors’ input into your work. If you’re writing a thesis, read through this and discuss any issues or concerns with your supervisor or with the Graduate Research School. Research students should also check out the Library's thesis guide’, which has a section about copyright that explains in more detail your own rights in your thesis and any published work, as well as guidance on when you might need to seek permission to reuse others' work.

For all students, while most work is submitted to staff and never public, it is becoming increasingly common for work to be done “in the open” (e.g., on a blog) or for students to choose to separately publish slides, videos, or other material online. At all times, when using elements of others' work in your own, it's important to bear copyright in mind - refer to the thesis guide mentioned above for more information about what is OK and what is not. You will own the copyright in your work, as indicated above, and putting something on the internet does not change that. It’s a good idea to specify what someone else may or may not do with the material you have created. If you're interested in allowing others to use your work in certain ways without your permission check out Creative Commons licences on the Tohatoha website.

Copyright - Course Material

You may be provided with course materials to aid your learning, either in print or electronic format. Some of these may have been developed by your lecturers and they would own the copyright in them. This includes lectures themselves, if recorded. You must always check with staff if you want to record or capture lectures in any way, including online sessions - visit the 'Recording by the University of Lectures and other Teaching' Policy.

You should always check with your lecturer if you want to use any of their materials outside of your normal coursework.

Other materials may be journal articles or book chapters, which are distributed using eReserve, the University’s official reading list tool that sits inside Blackboard or Moodle. Find out more about by visiting the eReserve for students page.

The University can provide you with access to, or copies of, such resources under NZ copyright law or under special licensing arrangements. These arrangements only allow you to use them for your own study in the course you’re enrolled in: you may not provide copies to anyone else.

However, re-using insubstantial amounts in your own work is allowed under New Zealand law as “fair dealing” with copyright material for criticism or review. Find out more about fair dealing here.

Increasingly you may see resources labelled with a Creative Commons open access licence. These are designed to allow reuse and are not restricted in the ways described above. For more information about Creative Commons visit Tohatoha’s website.

For more information or advice about copyright or to contact the University’s Manager, Copyright & Open Access, see: