Following concerns raised by local and international publishers, including on liability for copyright infringement, the New Zealand National Library has announced that it is reconsidering the agreement to donate its international collection to the Internet Archive for digitization and making available of digitised copies online.
This decision was announced ahead of a deadline set by the National Library, allowing publishers to prevent their books from being donated to the Internet Archive by notifying the National Library of their decision to opt out by 1 December. This deadline is no longer applicable, as the National Library announced the plan is suspended.
As IPA newsletter readers will know, the Internet Archive is currently in litigation in the USA.
The New Zealand National Library agreement stunned authors and publishers in New Zealand and elsewhere. More surprising still was the library’s establishment of a 1 December deadline for authors and publishers to opt out of the donation, therefore protecting their titles from being included in this massive digitisation plan. Digitization and making available of digitized copies require permission of copyright owners, through licences granted in advance, something neither the library nor the Internet Archive had sought. Even if publishers wouldn't have been able to opt-out from the donation by 1 December, permission would still be required for any uses protected by exclusive rights, such as digitization and making available.
IPA will continue to monitor the situation and support our member PANZ, whose President, Graeme Cosslett said 'PANZ welcomes this decision by the National Library. Pursuing an agreement at odds with copyright law would have been harmful to our industry, and the wider ecosystem that publishers, authors and libraries inhabit. PANZ is grateful to all international colleagues that have contributed to our advocacy on this matter. We are now focused on working with the National Library, in the new year, to ensure their next steps regarding these titles are taken with full adherence to copyright law, and the interests of rights holders.'