copyright (wikimedia)

Changes to the collection of copyright royalties

For the past few years, and on the initiative of an earlier Executive, SAHANZ has been collecting a small amount of ‘royalty’ money via the Australian Copyright Agency for the external use and reproduction of papers published in our annual SAHANZ proceedings. The money is collected by the agency from Australian universities and institutions that pay to use materials protected under copyright law, which the agency distributes to publishers and copyright holders. (We understand that this usage is measured by online analytics and photocopier surveys). Note that this money has always been collected, it has simply not previously been claimed (by SAHANZ, or by individual authors who no doubt didn’t know it existed).

Recently it became clear to the Executive that, since the society does not own the copyright of the papers published in the annual proceedings, we are obliged to pass on the money received to the numerous copyright holders themselves – that is, the individual authors of the papers. In most cases we are able to identify the relevant author(s), even though some of the payments have been received for works published as far back as the 1980s. Ultimately, this raises the questions of how the Society retrospectively repays this money to its members, and, looking forward, whether or not the Society should continue to accept these payments, and take on the significant administrative responsibility for the on-going distribution of numerous, often very small amounts. The Executive has sought legal advice from a specialist copyright lawyer, and thereby come to the following solutions, which have been approved by the committee:

  • For future conferences, a clause will be added that requires the copyright owner to waive their claim to any copyright money that is received by SAHANZ for the publication. Note: there is no change to actual copyright ownership which remains with individual authors.
  • Since authors retain copyright, they are free to republish elsewhere – and anywhere they wish to.
  • The copyright money re-collected by SAHANZ is only that gathered in Australia: authors are still free to claim this money from elsewhere in the world through their own volition.
  • Regarding our ongoing collection of payments for papers published in 2016 and earlier, a notice will be added to the website offering an explanation and limitation on claims for repayment.
  • For our known retrospective debts, the executive will make contact with copyright holders, and request permission for the Society to retain the money, for the pursuit of the common good of the Society and pursuit of its aims. If this request is declined, we will pay the author the monies owed.
  • Each of these clauses, notices and letters have been drafted by the copyright lawyer, and are now in effect.

Earlier notice on copyright fees on conference papers

In furtherance of the Society’s objectives it has regularly published papers presented by speakers at conferences organised by the Society prior to 2017. In some cases, copying of those papers by third parties (for example, in library collections) has generated a royalty or licence fee that has been paid to the Society as the publisher of the paper. The Society does not have records or the resources necessary to locate all past presenters that might be entitled to receive a royalty or licence fee in respect of copies made of their paper. If you believe you may be entitled to a royalty or licence fee please contact the Society by writing to the current treasurer so the Society can use reasonable efforts to determine from its available records whether it can identify any royalty or licence fee payable to you.

If you believe you may be entitled to a royalty or licence fee for a paper presented at a Society-sponsored conference prior to 2017, please let us know by July 31st, 2018. All unclaimed past royalties and licence fees (and all future royalties and licence fees) will be used by the Society in furtherance of its not-for-profit objectives.

Please communicate by 31 July 2018 with the SAHANZ Treasurer, Ashley Paine.