Does copy right apply when it comes to politics?

A couple of days ago the PM did an Ask Me Anything session on the NBR website. As part of the promotion around this, the National Party Facebook page posted this image.

internet party 1

It was documenting him replying to the questions. Most of which were related to Government policy.

Hi John.

I’m loving your work and the enormous role our primary producers are playing in our economic recovery.

But I don’t like what’s happening to our rivers at all. It seems we’re losing a big part of our heritage and brand every time there’s a river we can’t swim in for fear of bacterial infection.

\I wonder if there’s an opportunity to set up some sort of “rivers of national significance” programme?

As a taxpayer, I’m happy to chip in. Fonterra is making plenty. Funding doesn’t feel like a problem (but of course it will be). I heard you talk on asset sales where you clearly explained that the Government isn’t selling assets – it’s setting new priorities on the assets we should own. Maybe we could flog off Kiwibank and get our rivers back? That feels like a better asset ownership mix to me.

by John Key(verified) 2 days ago in reply to Alan Hard

Thanks for the postive feedback. I agree with you that we need to balance our economic opportunities with our environmental responsibilities. My Government has committed $250 million to clean up affected waterways. Along with this, we are working with Fonterra to encourage farmers to take responsibility for environmental issues. We’re pleased to see that literally thousands of kilometres of waterways that are adjacent to farmland have been fenced in Fonterra’s dirty dairying campaign.

However today the Internet Party have posted this image on both their Twitter and Facebook accounts.

inter net party 2

They have taken the image, direct from the National Party Facebook page, they have over laid a screen grab from their own Facebook page (viewed on a Mac, not a PC like in the picture), then posted it.

Now the question that I want to ask is, should copyright apply to images produced by political parties or political office holders? Facebook’s Pages terms and conditions state:

  • Intellectual property
    • Before sharing content on Facebook, please be sure you have the right to do so. We ask that you respect copyrights, trademarks, and other legal rights.
Twitters terms and conditions also state:

9. Copyright Policy

Twitter respects the intellectual property rights of others and expects users of the Services to do the same.


So it is obvious that both Facebook and Twitter expect their users to respect others copyright.


There are a few areas of exception to copyright law, none of which I think apply here.

internet party 4

The question that needs to be asked is, is there a public interest in copyright now being applied in terms of political parties? My personal view is that a line should be drawn between copyrighted items works which have the intent of documenting public office holders going about their job, such as this and works where the intent is to promote a particular policy, such as:

Nats 3k

Editing this to make a political point I think is acceptable. However attempting to breach copyright on an item related to a office holder undertaking work related to that office I believe is not a legitimate reason to breach said copyright.