URGENT: New Zealand National Library



A possible issue has come to our attention, and we wanted to pass it on quickly so that our members can spread the word to their agents and friends as soon as possible.


 Michael Swanwick’s blog has pointed out that the government of New Zealand is planning to upload the entirety of their Overseas Published Collection to the Internet Archive. While this collection contains many volumes which are in the public domain and are excellent candidates for digital preservation, it also includes  hundreds of books which are still under copyright, including several by recently deceased and still-living Canadian authors. Among them are many names that we can all recognize: Margaret Atwood, Guy Gavriel Kay, William Gibson, etc..

SF Canada Member Cory Doctorow has assured us that this donation will not be harmful to the authors whose books are included in the Archive. Modern books still under copyright are loaned with DRM attached, which makes them available to a single borrower at a time. The primary users of these scanned digital copies will likely be researchers and academics.


To learn more about how Controlled Digital Lending works through the Open Library, see this link:



Authors and their representatives do have the right to opt out of this donation to the Archive. The Executive Board have already written quick notes to the agents and estate agents of Margaret Atwood, Guy Gavriel Kay and A.E. Van Vogt. If any of our members in Ontario have contact with The Bella Pomer Agency, who represent the great historical novelist Pauline Gedge, one of her books is about to be uploaded to the Archive as well.

This issue goes far beyond the Canadian border. Many American and U.K. writers are affected as well, including C.J. Cherryh and the estate of Brian Aldiss.


Many agents and authors may already be aware of this situation, and have already taken steps to opt out. But given that the government of New Zealand has not widely publicized its intentions, we believe it’s better to be safe than sorry, and to allow authors and their representatives to make their own choices in this matter.


Please take a look at the list yourself, and spread the link to download the database information widely.


Authors and their representatives have very little time to opt out–the deadline is December 1, 2021.



Thanks very much for your time.


The SF Canada Executive Board
President: Arinn Dembo (British Columbia)
Vice President: Matthew Bin (Ontario)
Secretary Treasurer: Jane Glatt (Ontario)
Director-at-Large: Robert Runté (British Columbia)
Web Administrator: Adam Israel (Ontario)
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One Comment

  1. I did check the list, and Monica Hughes’ novel The Guardian of Isis is on it. Not happy!

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