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02 April 2024

New tool to help writers and illustrators protect their work

MyCreativeRights has been developed by not-for-profit organisation Copyright Licensing New Zealand (CLNZ), which saw a gap in the market for a product that demystifies the dense legal language around copyright and helps writers and artists better protect their intellectual property. We asked CLNZ chief executive Sam Irvine to tell us more about it.

Why is copyright so important for authors and illustrators to understand? 

The right that an author has over the ownership of their work is fundamental to how they are rewarded for that work. It may be monetary reward or it may simply be recognition and acknowledgement. This is the reason we have had copyright law for over 100 years.  The average annual income for an author in New Zealand is $12,500. Obviously this is not a sustainable income, so Copyright is a key function for them to secure funding and enable them to continue their writing.

Can you tell us a little about MyCreativeRights? What are the Catalogue and Legal Service functions?

MyCreativeRights is a solution that educates artists and writers and also handles the administrative side of managing their copyright, freeing up more of their time to create. The legal service is just that, a legal service for creators that currently offers a free* 15 minute consultation and then subsided legal advice if more time is required with a legal advisor. And Catalogue allows creators to store key documents related to their work and find out more about copyright.

*subsidised by Manatū Taonga, Ministry for Culture and Heritage for a limited time.

What drove the development of these tools?

We did a piece of research in 2022 that showed creators lacked the knowledge and tools to effectively manage the copyright of their work. In fact, we found only 12% of the creatives we surveyed were confident they knew their rights when it comes to Copyright.

Can you give us 3-4 ways in which authors and illustrators should engage with this tool? What will be the resulting benefits for individuals who use it?

  • Get legal advice on an agreement for the publishing, use or copying of their work.
  • Add these agreements to the catalogue for easy access.
  • Be notified when these agreements are close to expiring.

How do you see the tool benefitting our sector as a whole?

By taking the hassle and stress out of creating and managing agreements and contracts – that frees up admin time, giving creators more time to create. And also by increasing awareness of opportunities – MyCreativeRights will give people the tools (agreements/contracts/legal advice) to be able to make commercial returns from their work and therefore improve the sustainability of the whole sector.  

Head to to sign up for a free account and load your first project. Free 15-minute consultations with a legal advisor are also available, along with access to longer legal consultations, both of which are heavily subsidised by Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage for a limited time.