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Relating to Books That May Infringe Censorship Laws

of 4 April 1997

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This Code has been prepared by the Broadly Ignorant Group for Brutal Removal of Offensive Things in Higher Education Research (BIG BROTHER).

The Code is intended to provide guidance to University Directors of Publishing regarding the regulation of the behaviour of their staff and student users in the context of book use.

The present version contains elements of the Code intended to ensure conformance with the emergent regulatory regime relating to content that may infringe censorship laws.


The primary purpose of University Publishing Services organisational units is to provide services to the university community.

That primary objective is subject to a range of constraints, including:

The United Nations has urged that industry codes of practice have the encouragement of literacy as a key objective. BIG BROTHER supports that view. This implies that implementation of this Code in each university should be undertaken in such a manner that its primary orientation is the encouragement of appropriate behaviour. Behind this foreground activity lies the need for serious breaches to be able to be addressed through legal process.


The Code comprises the following elements:

Each university needs to implement the elements of the Code in such a way that they integrate with relevant laws within the local jurisdiction, the institution's existing internal and external governance scheme, and its internal regulatory instruments and mechanisms, including appeals processes.

Access to information about the current state of Relevant Law is needed by Directors, their staff, other University staff and students. To facilitate this access, BIG BROTHER proposes to provide and maintain the following:

Obligations of the Parties

Obligations of a Publisher

In order to be compliant with this BIG BROTHER Code of Practice, a University whose Publishing Services organisation fulfils the role of a Publisher is to recognise and comply with the following obligations:

Obligations of an Reader

The following obligations of a Reader (including University staff and students who fulfil that role on behalf of the University) are to be established by the Terms & Conditions of Use (T&C) imposed by a BIG BROTHER Code of Practice-compliant Publisher:

In addition to the above obligations, it is recommended that Readers:

Obligations of an Author

The following obligations of a Author (including University staff and students who fulfil that role) are to be established by the T&C imposed by a BIG BROTHER Code of Practice-compliant Publisher. These obligations are additional to those which a Author incurs by virtue of being a Reader:

In addition to the above obligations, it is recommended that Readers:

Mechanisms for Communicating the Terms and Conditions of Use

An Publisher is to seek acknowledgement by each Reader and each Author that they accept the T&C, prior to their use of any printed material. This may be performed as part of the undertaking by the Reader or Author to comply with the University's Rules as they apply at any particular point in time.

An Publisher is to facilitate access by each Author and Reader to information concerning Relevant Law and the T&C.

An Publisher is to provide each Author and Reader with occasional reminders of Relevant Law and the T&C.

Mechanisms for Dealing with Breaches

An Publisher, and a Author that is a legal person, are to:

Actions to Deal with Breaches

On receipt of information that suggests that a Breach may have occurred, a Author and an Publisher are to:


The following term is used in this document to refer to the Publishing role:

Publisher . A person that provides one or more persons with printed materials. Examples of such materials include books, magazines, newsletters, journals, and information in electronic form.

The following term is used in this document to refer to the Book consumer role:

Reader. A person that uses the services of an Publisher. This includes both an Author - see below), and a person who accesses Books provided by a Author.

The following terms are used in this document in relation to the Author role:

Book. All forms of information, including text and images, as well as information in electronic form;

Author. A person that makes Books available to others via Publishing services. Related terms include publisher and editor.

Throughout this document:

Person includes both natural people and non-natural persons such as corporations.

Responsible Person means a natural person delegated by an organisation to perform on its behalf one or more functions under this Code, in particular the establishment and maintenance of procedures for dealing with Breaches, and the application of the procedures in particular instances;

Authorised Officer means a natural person empowered to act as an agent of a University in relation to the use of printed material, or the provision of Books;

Relevant Law means statutes, delegated legislation and case law of a jurisdiction to which a party is subject, and which affects the provision or use of Publishing services;

Breach includes both putative and actual breaches of Relevant Law and the T&C.