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Release Of Copyright Discussion Papers

Associate Commerce Minister Laila Harré and Information Technology Minister Paul Swain today released two public discussion documents on copyright issues.

The Ministry of Economic Development papers look at issues arising from the use of digital technology in relation to the Copyright Act and performers rights.

The Ministers said the papers are the first stage of public consultation with key stakeholders.

The first discussion paper reviews the impact of digital technology on the Copyright Act 1994 and discusses some of the key copyright issues that arise from the use of digital technology and the Internet.

"Copyright law has traditionally aimed to balance the interest of rightholders and users of works of copyright. The challenge we face now is maintaining this balance while taking into account the impact of new technologies," Laila Harré and Paul Swain said.

"The purpose of this discussion paper is to consider the copyright issues that arise in a digital environment and explore some of the options for addressing them."

The second paper reviews performers' rights under the Copyright Act and looks at whether changes may be needed to meet the challenges posed by digital technology and new practices.

"While digital technology gives New Zealand performers access to wider audiences, it can also impact on their ability to control and benefit from their creative endeavours," the Ministers said.

This can be caused by the increased ease of dissemination, copying and accessibility offered by digital technologies.

Both papers will also consider issues raised by relevant new international standards, in particular the 1996 World Intellectual Property Organisation "Internet Treaties".

Laila Harré and Paul Swain are encouraging authors, performers, producers, directors, copyright owners, users of copyright works and members of the public to make submissions on the issues raised in the discussion documents.

Submissions will be considered in the development of policy recommendations to the government on possible legislative reform and New Zealand's accession to new international copyright treaties.

Submissions on both papers must be received by Friday October 12 2001.

Submissions on discussion papers should be sent to:

Performers’ Rights: Digital Technology and the Copyright Act 1994:
Performers’ Rights Submissions
Attention: Warren Hassett
Competition and Enterprise Branch
Ministry of Economic Development
P O Box 1473
WELLINGTON Copyright (Digital Technology) Submissions
Attention: Mark Simpson
Competition and Enterprise Branch
Ministry of Economic Development
P O Box 1473
Email: Email:

Copies of the discussion papers are available from the Ministry of Economic Development web site:

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