In August this year Book Guardians Aotearoa wrote to the Attorney General, David Parker, with these points:
- requesting that he cancel the Library’s contract with the Internet Archive
- there is a considerable risk that the books cannot legally be scanned and put online, thus denying access to the books by New Zealanders. The Tohatoha lawyer upon whom the library heavily relies for its defence has acknowledged this point in a recent Tweet.
- There has been no consultation on the book disposal with affected groups, as was promised. New Zealand Society of Authors and Publishers Association of New Zealand have strongly protested the digitisation plan.
- Lack of compliance with copyright law: the “controlled digital lending” practice has no legal standing.
- The “opt out” provision has no legal standing – it puts the onus on the rightsholder of a work to ensure that their work is not stolen. Whereas copyright law actually protects the creator or owner of a work.
- The collection has not been properly valued, written off in an accounting exercise as “nil”
- Lack of proper legal advice: the National Library has not taken Crown Law Office advice and nor did the Ministry for Culture and Heritage when approving the export.
Read the letter to the Attorney General here:
On 26 October the Attorney General sent us a very brief reply, the text of which is at the link below.
He claims he cannot provide us with legal advice – which is not what we asked for. That is pure fudge.
He also says he will send a copy of his letter to the Ministers of Internal Affairs and of Arts and Culture.
A very disappointing and limited reply which shows the government protecting itself from facts when they are determined to carry on with something of indisputable unlawfulness. Our copyright laws are very clear!
We will press on!