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Should publishers and authors subsidise education?

For immediate release

24 July 2006

Should publishers and authors subsidise education?

Most educational institutions in New Zealand have licences that permit copying from published works for students within certain prescribed limits. However, there are still some that don’t and it appears that these schools are creating and providing copies of works to students in breach of copyright.

“It is common for secondary schools to copy from the works of others to make resource booklets for students,” said Kathy Sheat, CEO of Copyright Licensing Ltd. “In doing so,” she said “some schools are using intellectual property that is not theirs and, in some instances, are even charging students for copies of works that infringe copyright. Primary schools often make class sets of small readers instead of purchasing them, depriving publishers and authors of their rightful income.”

Copying of the whole or a substantial part of a copyright work without authority from the copyright owner is an infringement of copyright unless there is a statutory exception in the Copyright Act 1994 that permits that copying. The Copyright Act 1994 provides certain exceptions for educational establishments to copy material from published works for educational purposes, but there are important limits on the extent of the copying permitted under those exceptions that are commonly overlooked. Copyright infringement is a serious matter (and can constitute a criminal offence under the Copyright Act). It affects the legitimate interests of authors and publishers to receive a return for their creative endeavours and reduces their interest in creating further works for use by schools - a bad result for all concerned.

Ms Sheat said that the problem doesn’t stop at schools. Private training establishments, professional firms and other organisations copy extracts from copyright works for students, staff or clients for educational purposes, in-house training or informational purposes. Where the organisation does not have appropriate authority or a licence in place, these copies are infringing copies under the Copyright Act 1994. Any organisation that makes copies of copyright material without appropriate authorisation is infringing copyright and will expose itself to legal action under the Copyright Act.

“It is not reasonable to expect writers to forgo a return on the investment they have put into creating works, and to donate their works to subsidise education, whether in schools or other organisations,” said Ms Sheat. “Nor is it reasonable to expect publishers to invest in publishing works for no return. It is in everyone’s interest to respect copyright, encourage creativity and comply with the 1994 Copyright Act,” she said.

Copyright Licensing Ltd is a copyright collective which looks after the interests of publishers and authors worldwide in providing centralised licences that permit organisations in New Zealand to copy extracts from published works for educational and informational purposes. It is a non-profit organisation and, after deduction of administrative expenses, licensing revenue received by Copyright Licensing Limited is distributed to copyright owners whose works are copied under licence.

For further information visit If you wish to provide confidential information on possible infringement of copyright in published works, please call 0800 480 271.


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