Court of Appeal clarification good news for authors and publishers

On 20 April the Court of Appeal handed down a decision that has helped clarify the provisions of the Copyright Act relating to licensing bodies.

On 20 April the Court of Appeal handed down a decision that has helped clarify the provisions of the Copyright Act relating to licensing bodies. The court ruled in favour of CLNZ on matters arising from CLNZ’s dispute over fair licence fees with Universities New Zealand.

It is rare for copyright cases to be heard in New Zealand courts, let alone in the Court of Appeal. At issue on appeal was whether CLNZ operates a licence or a licensing scheme as defined by the Copyright Act 1994. The court held that CLNZ licences are a licensing scheme.

The ruling categorically supports the rights of licensing bodies, on behalf of the authors and publishers they represent, to set licence terms that are appropriate to a group of licensees. Having this decision as the backdrop to future negotiations for licensing schemes in New Zealand will benefit all rightsholder groups.

In addition to holding that CLNZ licences are a ‘licensing scheme’ under the Copyright Act, the court dismissed a cross-appeal brought by the universities.

Late last year, CLNZ agreed a new pilot licensing scheme with the universities. The scheme commenced on 1 January 2015 and concludes at the end of next year. Negotiations for future licensing schemes will take place towards the end of 2016. During the period of the pilot licence, all eight of the universities are implementing software systems that will enable reporting of their actual usage of the copyright works licenced by CLNZ.

Tweet Challenge 1 (Copy. Write. Author and Publisher edition): tweet us (@CLLNZ ) with the hashtag #weheartnzauthors

Copy. Write. May-June, author and publisher edition

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