Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa
Te Rau Herenga O Aotearoa

Points that could be made in your submission

From a public point of view

In addition to points you may want to make from your library experience or professional reading, politicians could be reminded that their privileged status courtesy of options available for parliament and the Crown in sections’ 58, 63, 62 and 64 of the Copyright Act, plus taxpayer funded (Parliamentary library services), largely shields them from encountering the problems that face libraries and constituents.

 

MPs seeking or condoning extension of copyright in duration or other TPP proposals negative to library service, may not appreciate what copyright extension means to the public:

  • Public domain long deferred after reasonable rate of return to copyright owners;
  • Underwriting via rates or taxes twenty years of document access they would not otherwise have to pay for;
  • For cost reasons, probably more limited scope of library digital access to more serious copyright items since these are dependent on funds available to public service library facilities. (The latter currently can’t afford to supply the depth of topic and research materials available to tertiary institutions or multinationals, or to a lesser degree in in relatively limited subject areas  in CRIs or special libraries).
  • Therefore, otherwise unnecessary requests for interlibrary loan of material not available locally. These incur library transaction cost charges;
  • When interlibrary loans are not available, 20 further years of hip-pocket costs for personal copies of desired material, (costs of direct digital purchase of personally relevant journal not available from local libraries currently run at about US $45 per item) and over time are  quite likely to involve alleged or real inflation costs or additional profit sought by suppliers;
  • And there will be specific impacts for business, educational, medical, engineering, genealogy, researchers etc.; as well as;
  • Increased impediments in identifying copyright owners in order to gain access to  material;
  • decreased ability to identify people in photographs, buildings and locations etc., hence;
  • Negative impacts on survival and/or digitization of cultural, social, economic and local history  resources – i.e. loss of patrimony, and;
  • Inability to become or stay informed when necessary.

For the parliament and country to work satisfactorily New Zealanders need to be able to draw on the legacy of economic, social and cultural understanding fixed in recorded material. The longer the delay in material coming into the public domain, the higher the cost to individuals and society, both financial and transactional; the greater the risks to economic development, policy and decision-making as well as to citizens’ health and understanding.

 

As libraries

We do understand the desire to harmonize copyright law and terms of copyright duration, however:

  • There are established international intergovernmental organisations such as WIPO and WTO designed to achieve just that;
  • New Zealand input into WIPO discussion on  topics like public domain and GLAM sector matters are critical for such harmonization, because the wider and better balanced the harmonization the better.
    If we cannot seek what is desirable here, we risk not getting it. Books and data and other materials do not have arbitrary cross-border patterns, and any imposition of new terms for just selected bi- or multilateral groupings is unsatisfactory;
  • Without WIPO participation, given increasing pressures on governments negotiating bi- or multilateral agreements, limitations and exceptions presently available to  libraries and archives that attempt to balance copyright author/owner interests are in jeopardy;
  • We have concerns about the ‘balance’ that presently exists in this respect. User vs. owner rights have increasingly diverged from the original intent to provide monopoly rights of reproduction for only ‘limited’ terms  in order to prevent monopoly abuses of long or perpetual duration of copyright.
  • We therefore encourage official engagement with LIANZA   on these topics, as aggregation in commercial publishing and electronic contracts are exacerbating this.

 

So in order to protect our heritage and facilitate innovation, we [you choose the verb, e.g.: seek/request/demand] that copyright terms are not extended. Instead we ask that the government offers:

  • New Zealanders the natural justice, respect, breadth of scope, interactive discussion and time to undertake copyright reform as the British, Australians and Canadians have offered their people;
  • Civil society users and their representative organisations the same degree of access to, sight, and input to trade or integrated economic treaty negotiation of intellectual property presently enjoyed by copyright owner representatives and business sectoral advisors;
  • Release of draft texts with ample time to examine and debate these before NZ cabinet signature, as has been feasible with other multilateral and international texts;

  • Prompt development of legislation that would enable New Zealanders to enjoy rights other negotiating partners have for robust parliamentary review, discussion and public input, before signature of any further bilateral or multilateral treaties;

  • Officials given the authority to negotiate copyright duration down to a relatively justifiable period of time (e.g. like those calculated by economists cited by Derek Khanna.) in future when negotiating intellectual property arrangements in trade or integrated economic treaties like the extended Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

 

For any questions, contact the LIANZA Standing Committee on Copyright

Alex Smith – Chair

 

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