Friday, 20 February 2009

NZ Sec 92a and public libraries - LIANZA Copyright Taskforce update

I have just been pointed to this excellent piece of professional practice from LIANZA, the Library and Information Association of New Zealand, Aotearoa. Some time ago they set up a task force on copyright.

This update was posted on the 17th February, 2009. It is both intelligent and useful. Might also be of interest to any NZ small business, or school, who is trying to get their head around the issues on Section 92a. Look forward to seeing the detail on "Sample Library Internet Service Provider Copyright Policy" and the 'sample warning notice regarding copying and downloading from the Internet" mentioned at the end of the statement


"LIANZA's Copyright Taskforce - update on the status of the new section 92A of the Copyright Act.

  1. It has been confirmed that libraries are included in the new definition of Internet service providers. As such, libraries are required under section 92A to "adopt and reasonably implement a policy that provides for termination, in appropriate circumstances, of the account with that Internet service provider of a repeat infringer". "Repeat infringer" is defined as "a person who repeatedly infringes the copyright in a work by using 1 or more of the Internet services of the Internet service provider to do a restricted act without the consent of the copyright owner".

  2. TCF, the Telecommunications Carriers' Forum, has produced a draft "Internet Service Provider Copyright Code of Practice" (see, which was launched at workshops held by TCF in Wellington and Auckland on 9 and 10 February and which is currently out for comment. The workshops provided LIANZA representatives with the opportunity to comment on the Code, and the likely effects of the Code and section 92A on libraries.

  3. The Code includes libraries within its definition of "downstream ISPs", which are ISPs that supply Internet services to users such as employees, students, contractors, clients or customers. Clause 4.9 of the Code states that "Downstream ISPs should not have their Internet access terminated" by telecommunications ISPs. This is a great relief for those libraries that feared having their entire Internet connections cut off (and perhaps also the Internet connections of their parent organisations) as a consequence of the activities of alleged repeat infringers in libraries.

  4. Clause 4.3 of the Code states that telecommunications ISPs will pass notices of alleged infringement received from copyright owners to downstream ISPs "in reliance on that downstream ISP having and implementing a termination policy complying with section 92A of the Act". The Code requires that downstream ISPs receiving copyright holder notices deal directly with copyright owners to resolve the issues raised.

  5. The LIANZA Copyright Task Force is preparing a submission to the TCF on its draft Code of Practice.

  6. The Copyright Task Force is also preparing a section on Internet service providers, and a sample warning notice regarding copying and downloading from the Internet, which will be included in the LIANZA publication "The Copyright Act 1994 and Amendments: Guidelines for Librarians" on the LIANZA copyright web site.

  7. In addition, the Copyright Task Force is drafting a "Sample Library Internet Service Provider Copyright Policy", which will be on the LIANZA copyright web site by the end of February.

    The sample policy is designed to provide guidance for libraries on what their "policy that provides for termination" should include. The sample policy will need to be tailored by libraries to express what their policies and procedures actually are, and libraries may wish to check with their organisations' managers and/or legal advisors, to ensure that the policies are acceptable.

  8. One of the issues faced by libraries is that many libraries, and particularly public libraries, may not be able to identify users of library-supplied Internet-access computers on which copyright infringement has been alleged, either because users are not required to authenticate, or because records by date and time of Internet sessions are not kept.

    These libraries, like other downstream ISPs, can not identify alleged infringers and therefore can not terminate their Internet access or accounts. Where this is so, libraries may be asked by copyright owners to supply them with a copy of the library's policy, to show what steps are being taken to prevent copyright infringement in the library.

  9. It is not yet known whether this will be acceptable to copyright owners, or to the courts should legal action ensue.

  10. In the meantime, LIANZA is recommending to TCF that the concerns of libraries and other downstream ISPs should be brought to the attention of the Minister, together with proposals as to how the new legislation may be modified to meet the needs both of copyright owners and of downstream ISPs such as libraries.

  11. LIANZA has reiterated its support for clear copyright law that strives to achieve a fair and equitable balance, for the ultimate benefit of authors and copyright owners, users of in-copyright works, and society as a whole .."

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