All eight of New Zealand's universities are being taken to the New Zealand Copyright Tribunal for refusing to agree to an increased annual licence fee which allows lecturers to copy authors' work for students. After a year of negotiations, Universities New Zealand (UNZ) has refused to a proposed $6 increase which has resulted in Copyright Licensing New Zealand (CLNZ) filing a case with the Tribunal. CLNZ has said that there has been an increase in the average number of pages copied and many students were charged extra for ‘course packs’ which contain copyright material: CLNZ chief executive Paula Browning says many universities have increased student fees by the maximum amount allowable, and then charge students additional fees for course packs which contain copyrighted materials saying “"Fees charged per pack are significant - up to $85.00 in some cases. At the same time the universities are paying just $20 per student per year to compensate authors and publishers whose works are included in the course packs” adding "Despite increases in the average number of pages being copied per student and the ability the licence gives universities to provide copies electronically to students, the universities aren't prepared to agree to the modest $6 increase in the annual fee sought, which hasn't been adjusted in over five years." The licensing scheme, operated by CLNZ ensures authors and publishers are remunerated for the use of their work.
A UNZ spokeswoman said CLNZ had chosen, without consultation, to refer its demands to the tribunal. The universities' copyright licence expired on December 31, but has been extended by CLNZ until the case is heard. No timeline is available as yet. The Copyright Tribunal is mandated to investigate what a reasonable fee is, taking into account all relevant circumstances.