Introduction to PMCA & copyright licensing - click here to download

Q. What authority does the PMCA have to operate the scheme?

A. The PMCA is authorised by the publishers of certain publications to grant non-exclusive licences to copy print and/or digital content (i) for distribution to personnel for internal management purposes and (ii) in certain specific cases to supply print and/or digital content to third parties for their internal management purposes. The statutory framework for the PMCA is the Copyright Act 1994 (as amended), which embodies the principle that copyright is a property right subsisting in, among other things, original literary or artistic works and the typographical arrangements of published editions.

Q. Why have you contacted us?

A. We are systematically contacting companies and other organisations in New Zealand that have not contacted us. If you haven’t yet been contacted you should be aware that copying fees apply from January 1 2003, regardless of when you obtain a licence from the PMCA. Consequently, to avoid what could turn into a substantial charge for past copying, it’s in your interest to contact us.

Q. We have been copying and sharing articles from the newspapers and magazines for many years. Why do we suddenly need a licence now?

A. The PMCA's publishers recognised the need for an effective and business-like solution to be offered to organisations wanting to reproduce copyright material from newspapers and magazines without breaking the law so they set up the PMCA.

Q. Why should we have to pay an indemnity fee for copying from January 2003?

A. Copying print and/or digital content from our members’ publications prior to the grant of a licence from the PMCA will generally have constituted an infringement of copyright. It would not generally be fair on those who have been paying licence fees since the PMCA's introduction to disregard prior infringement by others.

Q. What happens if we choose not to apply for a licence?

A. If your organisation does not copy and it has the internal systems in place to enforce an effective ban, then no licence will be required. We simply ask you to sign a declaration to that effect. (There is a form for firms and another for companies and other organisations.) However, if your organisation does copy, scan, e-mail or fax print and/or digital content from our members’ publications, or allows its personnel to use its photocopying or fax machines and/or a computer network to do so, but refuses to apply for a licence, then it is infringing our copyright and we will, as a last resort, take legal action.

Q. If we now stop copying, will that be all right?

A. In that case, assuming you are confident the ban on copying will be completely effective, you won't need a licence, but you will still have to settle for the past infringement.

Q. Our press cuttings agency and/or media monitoring organisation has a licence for the copies it provides for my company. So why do we have to have a licence for copies we have already paid for?

A. The agency will pay the PMCA for the copies it provides to your organisation.  Clients can receive an electronic copy of an article sourced from one of our members’ publications from their agency or media monitoring organisation, view the press clip on-screen and then delete immediately, without saving the file or circulating it, without the need for a licence.  If you intend to share, reproduce, record, or store the clipping in any material form (including any digital format), in any medium and by any means, then a direct licence from the PMCA will need to be obtained.

Q. Ours is a manufacturing organisation. Why do we have to include all our personnel as a means of determining the basic fee? Most do not have access to a photocopier and will never receive copies of articles.

A. The basic fee for a licence is determined by the size of the licensee organisation. There are obviously many ways of gauging the "size" of an organisation, but we think basing the scheme on the number of employees, is the most straightforward. The licence covers all staff and obviates the need for licensees to have to set up internal systems to monitor the actual copying being undertaken.

Q. What do we do if we want to copy advertisements?

A. Contact the relevant syndication department of the publication that carried the advertisement you want to copy.

Q. What do we do if the publications we wish to copy from are not in your repertoire?

A. Make contact directly with the publications concerned. Otherwise, by copying cuttings from those titles you will be breaching the publisher’s copyright. 

Q. Some of the articles copied by my organisation have included facts sourced from press releases we supplied, why do we need a copyright licence to reproduce these articles?

A. If a newspaper or magazine publishes an article that your organisation in some way contributed to (i.e. by issuing a press release), you, as an information source, retain no ownership interest in the resulting article. Facts are not in themselves subject to copyright, only the presentation of those facts.

Q. Does copyright law apply to works that are published online?

A. Yes, copyright does apply to works published online.  Copying online content includes but is not limited to printing, digitally storing the article, taking a screen shot of any part of an article or extracting some or all of the text of an article into another document.  The same applies if you save a URL/hyperlink to a document along with a copy of all or part of an article which is subsequently saved in an electronic storage system, including e-mail folders and/or if the article is printed, photographed, scanned or faxed.

Q. What do I need to do if I share news or other content (other than individual URL’s) with others in my organisation and with clients?

A. You will need to purchase a licence to copy from the PMCA which gives your organisation permission to share and copy content from print and online publishers represented by the PMCA.

Q. I already subscribe to an online website and pay for monthly access to its content. Do I also need a copyright licence to distribute, copy or save an article which is of interest?

A. Yes, paying a subscription to have access to a website is not the same as having rights to copy the content on the same website.