Procedural guidelines for takedown

First published April 2015; revised January 2019

Note: the full text of these guidelines, including footnotes and attachments of links to related resources and the process template for dealing with copyright infringement repeat ofenders, is contained in the attached document.

The purpose of these procedures is to provide a standard framework and consistent approach for NSLA libraries to consider takedown requests, and ensure that public information about the takedown process is accessible.

Within scope: collection materials made available on NSLA library websites and on third-party websites with which we have a formal agreement, or non-collection materials that have been uploaded to such services by library staff.

Out of scope: materials uploaded to library services by third parties without moderation by the institution. Institutions providing hosting services that allow third parties to upload material directly will need to comply with requirements of the Copyright Amendment (Service Providers) Act 2018 and should refer to the Australian Libraries Copyright Committee’s compliance checklist.

NSLA library websites will provide a clear and visible takedown statement, which should provide details on the process for submitting takedown requests (including format and information requirements), timeframes and potential outcomes.

Organisational responsibility for the management of takedown requests will be established according to the institutional requirements of each NSLA member, but will require a designated position for inquiries, for example the copyright officer or collection manager, and this information should be made available on the library’s website.

Upon receipt of a request an acknowledgement will be issued, usually within three working days, and advice provided on how the request will be processed. This will be followed by an initial assessment and access to the material may be temporarily removed, blocked or deindexed pending further investigation of the validity of the request.

All efforts will be made to achieve a quick resolution to the satisfaction of both parties with the following possible outcomes:

  • access to the material is restored unchanged on the library’s website
  • access to the material is restored with changes
  • access to the material is removed.

If a library becomes aware that it will not be able to make a decision within a reasonable timeframe it should seek to advise the complainant.

Where practicable, when access to the material is altered, removed or blocked by a NSLA library, the reason for the decision and action taken will be acknowledged as openly as possible.

Access to collection material that has been removed, blocked or deindexed online may remain accessible onsite.

Takedown decisions will be reviewed as a matter of course. Where the circumstances of the original takedown request have changed over time, this may result in the reinstatement of collection material online.

Takedown requests should be assessed according to criteria, including whether:

  • online access to the material is in breach of copyright law.
  • online access to the material contravenes conditions imposed by the donor
  • the material is defamatory, offensive or objectionable under Australian law
  • the material is a breach of privacy legislation or includes personal information about someone who is still alive and continued online access to it would cause serious invasion of privacy or harm.
  • removal of the work would undermine freedom of speech
  • there is a need to mitigate harm and legal liability
  • online access to the material is in breach of protocols maintaining the right of Indigenous peoples to determine access provisions for heritage materials which reflect their history, culture, language and perspectives.
  • the material is subject to a suppression order or other legal restriction relating to availability
  • the material is ‘commercial in confidence’ or includes protected government data
  • the material breaches specific jurisdictional legislation and related exemptions.

Institutions may be obliged to terminate a client’s account or access to a particular service if they consistently infringe copyright (see process template within the attached document).

External legal advice should be sought when necessary.

Records relating to takedown requests and outcomes should be maintained by individual NSLA members. Following the resolution of the request, member libraries should provide information (with sensitive and/or removal of confidential information removed) to the NSLA office within 10 working days for inclusion on the central takedown register.