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Introduction to copyright at Standards New Zealand

We publish our standards in the following forms:

  • Electronic PDF files: These are digital files in PDF format that you can purchase from Standards New Zealand. Purchasers can download these files to a computer and print one copy for personal use.
  • Hard copies: These are physical printed documents that you can purchase from Standards New Zealand. We send these documents directly to purchasers.

You can also access our published standards using either a Network Licence or an Online Library subscription. This will allow you to print a temporary copy of a standard for their use.

All the documents we publish are protected by copyright. It is illegal to make copies of, or reproduce any content from any Standards New Zealand documents without permission from us. This applies whether:

  • The copies are of the whole document, or reproduce only part of the document.
  • We published these documents ourselves, or jointly with Standards Australia.
  • We published these documents as hard copies or electronic PDF files.
  • You or another person purchased these documents, or accessed them via a Network Licence or an Online Library subscription.

The copyright in our publications is important for the following reasons:

  • It ensures that copies of our documents contain legitimate and correct information. This also helps our documents reflect the robust process that experts have followed to produce the standard;
  • It allows us to charge for access to standards documentation. This helps us recover the cost of developing these, as well as maintaining our international memberships. 
  • It gives our international standards counterparts confidence that their information is respected. This in turn improves our collaboration with these offices. 

Infringing copyright has serious legal consequences. Under the Copyright Act 1994 a person who infringes copyright may be liable to a fine of up to $150,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years.

Copyright Act 1994 - New Zealand Legislation(external link)

You may copy and use material from a standard if you have a copyright licence that specifically allows you to do this. We consider requests for copyright licences on a case-by-case basis, and may charge a fee for these. You can make a request for a copyright licence using our licensing enquiry form.

Licensing enquiry form

The content on our Standards New Zealand website is also protected by copyright. For more information, please visit our main Copyright page.


How to apply for a copyright licence

If you wish to copy a document or reproduce any content from a document we have published, you must obtain permission from us to do so. This applies whether you intend to copy the whole document, or reproduce part of its content (such as a page, paragraph, table or figure).

If we allow you to copy or reproduce our content, we will issue you a licence that sets out the terms and conditions for its use. We may charge you a fee for this licence, depending on the circumstances.

You must include the following information as part of a request for a copyright licence with us:

  • The reference number of the standard or other document you wish to copy or reproduce.
  • The part(s) of the document you wish to copy or reproduce.
  • Detailed information about how and where you intend to use the content.
  • The format of the work where the content will be used, such as website publications or printed copies.
  • The expected number of copies of your work, and the number of people to which the work will be distributed.
  • Whether there is a deadline associated with your request, so that we can respond in a timely manner.

Please note that if the document you wish to copy from is an International Organization for Standardization (ISO), International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), or British standards (BSI) publication, we may ask an overseas contact to review your request.

We will consider your request and determine whether to issue you a copyright licence. If we issue you a licence document, this will include our terms of use. It will also provide wording that you must use to acknowledge the use of Standards New Zealand’s copyright.

You can submit a copyright licence request by completing our licensing enquiry form below.

Licensing enquiry form

You can also send a written request to the address below.

Standards New Zealand
PO Box 1473
Wellington 6140

Digital Products Licensing

If you are developing a digital tool or app that uses standards content, you can also contact us regarding our digital products licensing (DPL) programme. Our DPL programme lets innovators partner with us to generate services and applications that increase the usefulness of our standards content, and make good practice simpler.

Digital Products Licensing

Copyright protection

Copyright exists for all documents published by Standards New Zealand. Purchasing a Standards New Zealand document does not necessarily entitle you to make copies of, or reproduce any content from that document without our permission. This applies whether the document is an electronic file or a printed hard copy.

Purchased standards may not be made publicly available

You cannot make copies of a published standard freely available to others without our express permission.

From time to time Standards New Zealand may enter into an arrangement with an organisation to allow public access to a standard. In these cases, we will make these ‘sponsored standards’ available on our website in exchange for the organisation offsetting the cost of sales.

  • Electronic PDF copies of sponsored standards are available to the public, free of charge. These include a licence number, as well as a description of the sponsor.
  • Copyright still applies to sponsored standards. You must still obtain permission from us if you wish to copy or reproduce any content from a document, even if it is available to download free of charge via a sponsorship arrangement.

If you are aware of copies of a standard that are available without a licence number, please let us know so we can investigate this matter.

Email the Copyright team

Printing hard copies of a standard

Our terms and conditions state that purchasers may print only one hard copy of the electronic PDF file for a standard. This hard copy must be for the user’s personal use, or for their associated company's internal purposes.

Terms and conditions [PDF, 181 KB]

Printing multiple hard copies without express permission breaches our copyright, and will have serious legal consequences. If you want to produce more than one hard copy of a document, please contact us to discuss a copyright licence.

If multiple users require access to an electronic copy of a standard, you should consider either a Network Licence or Online Library subscription.

  • A Network Licence allows you to store a standard document on your organisation’s secure network in exchange for a licensing fee. This allows you to provide your organisation’s staff with access to the document.
  • An Online Library subscription allows you to view groups or catalogues of standards on the Standards New Zealand website. This is in exchange for an annual subscription fee.

Network Licence

Online Library subscription

It is generally not possible to enter into copyright licensing agreements with us as an alternative to the purchase of standards. This is because annual licensing fees are unlikely to be more cost-effective than purchasing multiple copies for ongoing use.

Linking or referring to a standard

You may freely refer to a standard's name and number, and link to the page on our website where the standard can be purchased. You do not need to request permission for this.

When referencing a standard, you can direct your audience to the correct location by using the standard’s number and name, followed by the relevant parts or sections, for example, “NZS 1234:2019 [NAME], Part 1, page 2, clause 1.2.3”.


We publish our electronic file copies of standards with a watermark in the background of each page. This watermark is intended to act as a reminder that the content is the copyright of Standards New Zealand. The inside margin of each page also provides a short summary of the conditions of your purchase and the use of the standard.

In some instances, a watermark may obscure content in one of our publications. If this is the case, please email us to advise of the issue, and provide details of your purchase (for example, your customer number, the reference number for the standard, the page number, and the obscured details). We will correct the placement of the watermark as quickly as possible and provide a replacement document.

Email the Copyright team