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The Library, as a member of National and State Libraries Australia (NSLA), has endorsed a position statement on public requests to take down content from our website and/or collections.
Position statement on take-down requests
National and State Libraries Australia (NSLA) is committed to the principles of freedom of expression and universal access to information and knowledge. These principles are fundamental to the library profession and recognised as pivotal components of our democratic traditions; represent a major driving force in the creation of new ideas and innovation; and support cultural understanding and sustainable socio-economic development.*
Responding to the proliferation of digital technologies and enhanced community expectations for ‘anywhere, anytime’ access to information, libraries are continuing to build and deliver online collections, providing the greatest possible access to local and global communities.
NSLA libraries have mandated roles to collect and preserve cultural heritage, provide open and equitable access to information, and support the growth of knowledge and ideas. Given these responsibilities, materials provided online will be taken down (or have other access restrictions imposed) only in extraordinary circumstances.
In making collections available online NSLA libraries act to respect jurisdictional legal considerations. However, NSLA recognises that despite best efforts there may be occasions when material made available online is considered to breach copyright or other relevant law or contains information that is culturally sensitive. In terms of copyright infringements, Australia has recently legislated to extend safe harbours protection to include cultural, educational and disability groups where they provide online services to the public. The Copyright Amendment (Service Providers) Act 2018 sets the services and compliance requirements to which safe harbours may apply. As well as being relevant to takedown of material uploaded by third parties, these changes are relevant for those providing public access computers or search services. Further information is available from the Australian Libraries Copyright Committee.
As a means of promoting a consistent response to takedown requests, NSLA libraries agree to take into account the following general principles:
- The broadest possible online access to collection materials will be provided.
- Permanent access restrictions, deindexing or takedown will be considered as an exceptional response.
- Requests for access restrictions, deindexing or takedown will take into account the relationship of the requestor to the material.
- Requests for access restrictions, deindexing or takedown will take into account specific jurisdictional legislation and related exemptions.
- Access restrictions or takedown of material made available online should, as far as practical, be openly acknowledged with a statement noting the takedown.
- As circumstances change, or after a period of time, online material that has been taken down, restricted or deindexed should be reviewed and may be reinstated
* NSLA is a signatory to the 2014 Lyon Declaration on Access and Development and supports the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Making a take-down request
If you are concerned that you have found material in the State Library of New South Wales catalogue or on our website which you have not given permission to be made available, and/or which contravenes privacy laws, is defamatory, or is in breach of copyright law, please contact us in writing stating the following:
- Your contact details
- Full description and details of the material
- The reason for your request, including (but not limited to) copyright law, privacy laws, data protection, defamation, or proof of your rights to the material, etc.
Your request should be addressed to:
Coordinator Projects and Policy
State Library of New South Wales
Sydney NSW 2000
Can be made via our online feedback form marked to the attention of Coordinator Projects and Policy.
Responding to take-down requests
The Library will acknowledge your take-down request in writing and will make an initial assessment of the request. The material may be temporarily removed from the State Library catalogue or website until a final decision is agreed upon. Physical material may also be removed from the shelves.
The State Library of New South Wales will make all possible efforts to resolve take-down requests quickly and to the satisfaction of both parties, with the following possible outcomes:
- Access to the material remains unchanged on the State Library catalogue and website.
- Access to the material is restored via the State Library catalogue and website.
- Access to the material is restored with changes in response to the takedown request via the State Library catalogue and website.
- Access to the material is modified (e.g. online access changed to onsite only access, access restricted to State Library members, access restricted to particular groups).
- Material is retained in the State Library collection but access is removed.
- Material is removed from the State Library website and/or collection.
There will be regular reviews of take-down decisions. Where the circumstances of the original take-down request have changed over time, it may result in access to the material being restored.