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High Court Action Against Rotorua Polytechnic

For immediate release
16 May 2005


In a groundbreaking legal case, Copyright Licensing Limited took action in the High Court on behalf of publishers Elsevier Ltd and Edward Arnold (Publishers) Limited, against Waiariki Institute of Technology for infringing copyright. The parties have now settled out-of-court in favour of Copyright Licensing Limited.

Part of the settlement included Waiariki Institute of Technology taking up a copyright licence. Copyright Licensing Limited Chief Executive Officer, Kathy Sheat says she is pleased with the outcome and looks forward to working with staff at Waiariki Institute of Technology to develop appropriate copyright compliance practices.

Investigations showed that Waiariki Institute of Technology was involved in significant copying of text books and articles. 'We knew substantial breaches of copyright would be taking place at Waiariki when the institute decided not to renew its copyright licence for 2004 and staff had not been properly advised of this decision. We found that in one instance, forty percent of a textbook had been reproduced as part of a book of readings,' says Kathy Sheat.

Further investigations showed that works written by New Zealand authors: Michael King, Claudia Orange and Ranginui Walker had also been infringed. Yet Waiariki Institute of Technology was making no payment to authors.

'Authors have a right to be remunerated for the use of their intellectual property,' says Ranginui Walker. 'Copyright Licensing Limited provides a collective licensing system that ensures that authors and publishers receive a return for multiple or systematic copying by institutional and other users', he said.

New Zealand copyright law only provides for educational institutions to make multiple copies of up to three percent or three pages of a work for students without a licence. Once an institution has a licence they have access to copying from a world wide repertoire of published work.

'Unlicensed institutions often show a flagrant disregard for copyright and copy well beyond the limits set in the 1994 Copyright Act. For this reason, Copyright Licensing Limited will take legal action against copyright infringement where necessary," said Kathy Sheat.

Copyright Licensing Limited acts on behalf of publishers and authors from around the world in providing licensing services for the reproduction of extracts from books, periodicals and journals. Established in 1988, Copyright Licensing Limited is a non-profit company jointly owned by the Book Publishers Association of New Zealand and the New Zealand Society of Authors. The Company supports the aims of the Copyright Act 1994 in balancing the need for public access to copyright works with the right of creators to earn a living from their works

The majority of public educational institutions in New Zealand have licences with Copyright Licensing Limited to enable copying of extracts from published works for educational purposes. Copyright Licensing Limited is a member of the International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations (IFRRO) and has bilateral agreements with Reproduction Rights Organisations in 23 countries worldwide. It is through this network that licensing fees collected in different countries are repatriated to rights holders in their country of residence.


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