Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • How much is reasonable?

Answer: if 10% is the permissible limit, a librarian may ask and examine reasons why a person requires more than 10% of an item copied. An exception in the copyright law allows up to 100% if certain conditions are satisfied: if the item is for private research or study; cannot be purchased at a commercial price; may not be available for purchase at a commercial price; may be a rare item stored only in one location; may not be feasible to copy less than 100% (e.g. a photograph); there is no collective licence of which the user is aware of.

  • What if the author is dead or cannot be found?

Answer: if copyright vests in the dead author, try asking the publisher or next of kin for permission. If next of kin cannot be located, seek permission from the Minister for a certificate of exemption.

  • What if the text book is out of print? (Cf Cook Islands)

Answer: “the 50 year from end of author’s life” rule still applies. In Cook Islands, the law allows copying of the item.

  • What if the article used to be an old course book, which is now not being used, but you still have the text book?  

Answer: “the 50 year from end of author’s life” rule still applies. Attribution of author, publisher is still good form.

  • What if the publisher refuses to give permission?

Answer: if the publisher retains copyright, the publisher’s word is final.

  • What if the publisher sends you on a merry trip to copyright clearance centre (user-pays)?

Answer: first, check with library to see what e-book licences are available, and if not in the category or publisher sought, and the publisher holds copyright, you may have to obtain permission from the clearance centre.

  • What licences does USP have?

Answer: check with University of the South Pacific librarian for e-resources.

  • Is the USP guidelines to be updated?

Answer: Yes.

  • Where can I find the Fiji Copyright Act?

Answer: the law before the 2019 amendment is found at The original and sessional amendments can be found on Fiji Copyright Act 1999 (consolidated as at August 2019) is available here.

  • Should social media platforms and online content sharing sites be liable (eg European Union’s art 13’s requirement to obtain copyright owner’s permission before uploading) with exceptions for non-profit online encyclopaedias, open source software development platforms, cloud storage services, online marketplaces & communication services)?

Answer: European Union’s laws are applicable within the union, but their impact may soon be felt across the world as we are inter-connected.

  • Is digitization an exception to the copyright rule?

Answer: digitization is often seen as piracy, a way to circumvent copyright laws. Digital publishers operating on a subscription or pay per view or on-line purchase platforms may benefit. At USP, librarians digitize older material primarily for archival storage, or to replace lost or damaged items. Preservation does not infringe copyright.

  • Are “shrink-wrap” and “click-wrap” licences on software legal?

Answer: manufacturers should preferably give users an opt-in and opt-out option. Shrink wrap licences refers to the licence printed on the package, which a user agrees to as a condition of opening the package or plastic covering the package. Once the seal is broken, the user is excepted to have accepted the licence conditions. Click wrap licence refers to accepting the conditions before the software can be downloaded on to the user’s computer or phone or tablet. This requires a user to read the conditions thoroughly before pressing the “accept” button. If the user declines the conditions, the software or app cannot download. As the user accepts these licence conditions, they form a binding contract between the manufacturer and user.

Questions are posed as outcomes of learning.

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