NZGOAL Guidance Note 1: Website copyright statements
Version 3 / April 2015
Introduction and context
1. The New Zealand Government Open Access and Licensing framework (NZGOAL), originally released in August 2010, anticipated that additional guidance notes would be released over time.
These guidance notes would:
(a) explore, in greater detail, some of the issues addressed or raised in NZGOAL; and
(b) address operational or technical issues which arise in practice, whether on the part of State Services agencies that are implementing NZGOAL or members of the public who are re-using copyright works and non-copyright material released in accordance with NZGOAL.
2. An issue that has arisen in practice is the extent to which State Services agencies can make copyright content on their websites available for re-use under one or more Creative Commons licences in accordance with NZGOAL.
3. NZGOAL does contain, in its Appendix, recommended copyright and licensing statements, including for individual copyright works on websites. It also contains, again in its Appendix, suggested wording for a generic treatment of attribution requirements of licensees, to apply to all works on a website that carry Creative Commons licences.
4. NZGOAL does not, however, contain suggested wording for a generic website copyright statement that, when applied, would make all copyright works on the website available for re-use under a selected Creative Commons licence unless stated otherwise for specific copyright content.
5. The New Zealand Government Web Usability Standard includes specific requirements for website copyright statements, and states that NZGOAL should be applied when selecting the licensing terms that apply to copyright material on agency websites.
6. To provide guidance to State Services agencies on website copyright statements that is in harmony with NZGOAL and consistent with the Declaration on Open and Transparent Government approved by Cabinet in August 2011, the Department of Internal Affairs and Land Information New Zealand have prepared this NZGOAL Guidance Note on Website Copyright Statements. The Guidance Note is consistent with but does not replace the requirements for copyright statements in the Web Usability Standard.
7. The Guidance Note sets outs:
(a) suggested minimum requirements for Government agency website copyright statements;
(b) guidance on applying NZGOAL, on taking care of third party rights, logos, emblems, design elements and trade marks, and on when it is appropriate to use the term “Crown copyright”; and
(c) a website copyright statement (in both plain text and HTML).
Suggested minimum requirements
8. Every agency website should contain a copyright statement that:
(a) states that copyright material on the website is protected by copyright; and
(b) sets out the licensing terms under which that material can be re-used by others.
9. Note that websites of agencies subject to the Web Usability Standard are required to contain a copyright statement as specified in that Standard.
10. Agencies are advised to consult their legal teams before finalising and publishing their website copyright statements.
Selection of licensing rights — apply NZGOAL
11. Agencies should apply NZGOAL when selecting the licensing rights that apply to copyright material on their websites.
12. The default licensing position under version 2 of NZGOAL is the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence (commonly abbreviated as CC-BY). To the greatest extent possible, agencies should apply this licence to copyright material on their websites, following the instructions in NZGOAL, except to the extent that:
(a) an agency does not have the right to license specific copyright material on a website; or
(b) one or more of the restrictions set out in NZGOAL apply to specific copyright material on a website.
(Agencies that have already generically licensed website content under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand licence, in accordance with an earlier version of this Guidance Note, are not required to re-license that content with a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence, but may do so if they wish.)
13. Where an agency does not have the right to license specific copyright material, or where one or more of the restrictions set out in NZGOAL apply to specific copyright material, that material should be expressly excluded from the scope of the general Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence. An agency may need to do this by reference to specific itemised works or it may choose to do so by specifying particular categories of works that are excluded from the scope of the licence. For example, if an agency’s site has hundreds of photographic images, many of which are licensed from third parties, the agency may wish or need to exclude all photographic images from the scope of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.
14. Where one or more of the restrictions set out in NZGOAL apply to specific copyright material, the agency should consider whether it can apply an alternative Creative Commons New Zealand licence to that material, in accordance with the NZGOAL Policy Principles.
Individual and generic licensing
15. In some cases an agency may have licensed particular copyright works on its website individually, under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand licences, before deciding to generically apply the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand licences to its website content (with or without exclusions) and now moving to applying a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.
16. Agencies are not required to update the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand licences that have been applied to specific works at the point of their publication (e.g., on specific web pages or on the online version of a PDF document). This will result in those copyright works being licensed twice, first under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand licence and then again under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence applied generically to the website content. In these circumstances a person using the licensed material could comply with its licensing obligations by meeting the requirements of either licence. In most cases those obligations will probably be the same.
17. An agency in this situation could explain to users that they are free to use the licensed material under either licence but it is probably unnecessary to do so unless the agency has applied a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence when previously it had applied a more restrictive licence (e.g., Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial 3.0 New Zealand licence) to individual works.
Take care over third party rights when licensing content for re-use
18. The main situation in which an agency will not have the right to license specific copyright material on its website for re-use will be where the material has been sourced from third parties, the copyright in that material is owned by those third parties, and the agency’s licence from those third parties does not contain a sufficiently broad right allowing the agency to sub-license it. It is particularly important that such material is expressly excluded from the scope of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand licence.
19. Bear in mind that such material may:
(a) take the form of, for example, textual content, stock photography or illustrations, audio, video or compilations of data; and
(b) have been added to the agency’s site either manually or dynamically (e.g. by pulling content from a web feed or application programming interface).
20. Where an agency’s website does contain copyright content that the agency does not own and that it does not have the right to sub-license, the agency should state, within the website’s general copyright statement and/or within or near to each such item:
(a) the source and copyright status of the item;
(b) that the website’s re-use licence does not apply to the item; and
(c) that permission to re-use the item cannot be given by the agency.
Logos, emblems, design elements and trade marks
21. Note also that it is unlikely that an agency will be able to or wish to license a website’s logos, emblems or other design elements. These, as well as any third party trade marks that appear on the website, should be excluded from the scope of the licence.
Use of “Crown copyright”
22. Where the agency concerned is part of the Crown as defined in section 2(1) of the Copyright Act 1994 (in essence, Government departments and certain offices of Parliament), the opening reference in the kind of copyright statement referred to below should be: “Crown copyright ©”. In all other cases it should be “Copyright ©”. (Use of “©” is optional.) Note that Crown entities, for example, do not own “Crown copyright” in their original works that qualify for copyright. They own normal copyright.
Sample website copyright statement
23. The sample copyright statement below is suitable for websites where the default NZGOAL licensing position (i.e. application of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) licence) is appropriate. It takes the advice in NZGOAL and applies it to all website content, with exclusions for the kinds of exceptions referred to above.
“[Crown copyright / Copyright] ©. Copyright material on the [name of website] is protected by copyright owned by [name of agency [on behalf of the Crown]] [or its licensors]. Unless indicated otherwise for specific items or collections of content (either below or within specific items or collections), this copyright material is licensed for re-use under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence. In essence, you are free to copy, distribute and adapt the material, as long as you attribute it to [name of agency/licensor] and abide by the other licence terms. Please note that this licence does not apply to any logos, emblems and trade marks on the website or to the website’s design elements [or to any photography and imagery]. Those specific items may not be re-used without express permission.”
24. Items in square brackets need to be assessed by reference to the agency’s individual circumstances. It is recommended that an agency’s legal team be included in performing such assessment.
25. Note that, for an online copyright statement such as that above, NZGOAL recommends the inclusion of appropriate HTML markup within the page of the website on which the statement appears.
26. HTML markup for the above example statement would be as follows. (The HTML markup conforms to HTML+RDFa 1.1, which defines rules and guidelines for using RDFa Core 1.1 and RDFa Lite 1.1 in HTML5 documents.)
<a rel="license" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/"><img alt="Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence" style="border-width:0" src="http://i.creativecommons.org/l/by/4.0/88x31.png"></a><br>[Crown copyright / Copyright] ©. Copyright material on the <span property="http://purl.org/dc/terms/title">[name of website]</span> is protected by copyright owned by <a href="COMPLETEURL" vocab="http://creativecommons.org/ns#" property="attributionURL"><span property="attributionName">[name of organisation [on behalf of the Crown]]</span></a> [or its licensors]. Unless indicated otherwise for specific items or collections of content (either below or within specific items or collections), this copyright material is licensed for re-use under a <a rel="license" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/">Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence</a>. In essence, you are free to copy, distribute and adapt the material, as long as you attribute it to [name of organisation/licensor] and abide by the other licence terms. Please note that this licence does not apply to any logos, emblems and trade marks on the website or to the website's design elements [or to any photography and imagery]. Those specific items may not be re-used without express permission.
Again, items in square brackets need to be assessed by reference to the agency’s individual circumstances. Note also that “COMPLETEURL” needs to be replaced with the appropriate URL for the agency’s website. You may need to seek assistance from your web or communications team to complete this HTML markup.
27. The Web Usability Standard requires that the copyright statement be visibly linked to from the website home page. Ideally, the copyright statement will be linked to from every public web page on the website.
If you need more help with your agency's copyright and licensing statements after reviewing this Guidance Note, the Web Usability Standard and NZGOAL, and talking with your legal team, please contact the Department of Internal Affairs’ Web Standards team. They will put you in touch with someone who can help.