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March 18, 2013 | by  | in News | [ssba]

Copyright Copywrong

Universities pin hopes on limewire

New Zealand’s universities are being investigated by the Copyright Tribunal after refusing to pay a 30 per cent rise in annual licence fees.

Copyright Licensing New Zealand (CLNZ) filed a case with the Tribunal last week after a year of failed negotiations with Universities New Zealand, a body made up of representatives from New Zealand’s eight universities.

Licence fees, currently $20 per student, allow lecturers to copy learning materials for students’ use, and include authors’ work on online databases.

Licensing ensures publishers and authors are fairly reimbursed for their work.

Universities’ licences have expired, with last December’s expiry date and a February 28 extension both now passed. The rise would cost universities an extra $820,000, or $6 per student. 

CLNZ Chief Executive Paula Browning has highlighted the legal obligation universities have to obtain appropriate licences under the Copyright Act, and says the fee rise requested is fair.

“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 five years.”

Universities have refused to comment as they consider their responses.

There is no date set for the Copyright Tribunal hearing.


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