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Authors And Publishers Seek Fair Copyright Deal From Universities

By March 10, 2013No Comments
06 March 2012
Media Statement

A refusal by the country’s eight universities to agree a fairer annual licence fee, allowing lecturers to copy authors work for their students, has left the non profit organisation that protects and licenses copyrighted work no option but to file a case with the Copyright Tribunal.

As the academic year kicks off, New Zealand universities are selling ‘course packs’ to students containing photocopied chapters and articles saving students from having to purchase full textbooks.

Universities must obtain appropriate licences in order to legally provide large amounts of copied course material to students outside what’s allowed under the Copyright Act. Without a licence, universities cannot charge for course packs and students would have to purchase the whole book or publication.

The licensing scheme operated by Copyright Licensing New Zealand (CLNZ) ensures that authors and publishers are being fairly paid for the use of their work. A CLNZ licence enables university staff to copy and share an extensive range of printed resources to ensure their teaching meets international standards. The net proceeds of the licensing scheme are paid out to the authors and publishers whose works are copied by the universities.

It will be the first time the Copyright Tribunal has looked at what universities are paying for the licence fee.  But it’s a move CLNZ Chief Executive, Paula Browning says the organisation has been forced to take. She says after a year of negotiations, Universities New Zealand (UNZ) has refused to budge on the current $20 fee per student, which was agreed back in 2007.

“Despite increases in the average number of pages being copied per student and the ability the licence gives universities to provide copies electronically to students, the universities aren’t prepared to agree to the modest $6 increase in the annual fee sought, which hasn’t been adjusted in over 5 years,” said Paula Browning.

“Many universities have been increasing student fees by the maximum allowable annually. They then also charge students to receive each individual course pack. Each year students will generally be required to purchase multiple course packs spread across two semesters. Fees charged per pack are significant – up to $85.00 in some cases. At the same time the universities are paying just $20 per student per year to compensate authors and publishers whose works are included in the course packs.”

The universities' current licence with CLNZ expired on 31 December 2012. CLNZ extended the existing licence to 28 February pending the completion of negotiations on the new fee. Paula Browning says CLNZ has gone to the Tribunal seeking a four-year deal with an annual licence fee of $26 per Equivalent Full Time Student (EFTS) for 2013, adjusted each year by the rate of CPI.

While the case is before the Tribunal, CLNZ has offered the universities the option of rolling-over the existing licence to ensure they are protected against legal action for breach of copyright.

The Copyright Tribunal is mandated to look at what is a reasonable fee, taking into account all of the relevant circumstances. If the Tribunal upholds the new fee being proposed by CLNZ, it has the discretion to backdate it to take effect from 1 March 2013.

A timetable for the matter to be heard before the Copyright Tribunal has not been set. 


For more information or an interview with Paula Browning please contact Trish Sherson at Sherson Willis on 021 570 803 or

About Copyright Licensing New Zealand Limited

CLNZ is a not for profit organisation jointly owned by the New Zealand Society of Authors (NZSA) and the Publishers Association of New Zealand (PANZ). The CLNZ licence provides advanced permission to copy, scan and share more copyright protected material from books, journals, periodicals and newspapers than the 3% of a work education institutions are allowed to copy under the Copyright Act.

The licence also gives Universities broad legal protection against copyright breaches.

CLNZ has licences in place with the majority of New Zealand’s educational institutions including schools, Private Training Establishments (PTEs), Polytechnics and Universities, which pay an annual license fee based on enrolment numbers.

Under the Copyright Act, education facilities can copy:

  • 3% or 3 pages of a work as long as no more than 50% of the work is copied. For example, no more than 50% of a poem
  • No charge can be made for the supply of copies to students

Under a CLNZ licence, teaching staff can copy:

  • 10% or one chapter of a work (whichever is larger)
  • 15 pages of a single work contained in a collection or anthology or works (eg short stories and poems)
  • A complete article from a periodical or journal (more if on the same subject)
  • Illustrations (as published with the printed work)

In addition, under the CLNZ licence teaching staff can scan from printed resources and share with students via a password protected site (ie intranet site).