Towards an Indigenous Knowledge Notice

What is Creative Commons?

Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand (CCANZ) is the kaitiaki of the Creative Commons (CC) licences in Aotearoa New Zealand. We provide free legal tools that help people release their works for others to share and reuse, in order to grow the commons, that store of works freely available to access and reuse. Learn more at

Creative Commons Licences and Māori Works

The CC licences are not always considered appropriate for Māori cultural works. CC licences cannot be applied to works that no longer qualify for copyright protection, which is likely to be true of many older Māori works. Also, the licences do not provide protections against culturally offensive or otherwise inappropriate uses of Māori works.

A Free Legal Notice for Māori Works

For these reasons, CCANZ is looking to produce a free legal notice that Māori can use to release cultural works more openly. The notice will be a clear and standard expression of the freedoms and restrictions that cultural producers or kaitiaki of Māori cultural works wish to apply. While the notice cannot grant additional legal protections, it will aim to educate the public about the status of Māori works, while at the same time allowing for greater access, sharing and reuse.

Why a ‘Notice’ and not a ‘Licence’?

A ‘licence’ is based on rights that are legally recognised, and full legal recognition of rights to mātauranga Māori and taonga works does not yet exist. A ‘notice’ will help to ensure that members of the public are aware of the status of a particular work, and also know how to share and reuse it appropriately.

How Will It Work?

While the details are yet to be determined, it is likely that a statement and symbol would be attached to a work. These would, in turn, link to a standard, legally robust statement of the freedoms and restrictions that the work’s kaitiaki wish to apply.

More Information

Minutes from earlier meetings and our general overview of the issues involved can be found at our Indigenous Knowledge page.

What Next?

We want to know more about what this notice should look like. We are looking for all kinds of feedback, formal and informal, from everyone. We’d love to hear from you. Either get in touch using one of the  channels below, or fill out the Google form. All responses will be confidential.

If you don’t have any specific feedback, but would be interested in being kept in the loop with further developments, please enter your email address in the form below, and we will add you to our contact list.


Matt McGregor, Public Lead, Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand
Phone: 027 337 8668  Twitter: @cc_aotearoa
PO Box 598, Wellington 6140, New Zealand

Image Credit
The logo used for this post is ‘Comment’ by Akiko Kunugi from The Noun Project, and is licensed CC-BY.

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