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Amendments proposed for Copyright Act

Amendments proposed for Copyright Act

Associate Commerce Minister Judith Tizard today announced proposals to amend the Copyright Act 1994 following a review of how digital technology impacts on copyright law.

“New Zealand’s intellectual property laws, including the Copyright Act, are an important element of the government's innovation framework.

“Copyright is the basis of legal protection for the creative industries and it is vital that our laws keep pace with developments in digital technology. The proposed changes are mostly designed to ensure this happens and will in many respects make New Zealand’s copyright law consistent with new international standards.

"The review found that while Copyright law does not need substantial changes, some clarification of the application of existing rights and exceptions in the digital environment is necessary,” Judith Tizard said.

The proposed amendments: Clarify and amend the definition of ‘copying’ in the Act so that it clearly applies to digital works, and provide an exception to the reproduction right for transient copying undertaken by computers or communication networks as a result of an automatic or inevitable technical process;

Provide a technology-neutral right of communication to the public and extends copyright protection to all communication works, not just the signals that carry copyright content in broadcasts and cable programme services;

Limit liability for Internet service providers for both primary and secondary infringement in appropriate circumstances;

Prohibit the supply or manufacture of devices, means or information that circumvent technological protection measures, where circumvention could enable infringement of any of the copyright owner’s exclusive rights, and provide criminal penalties for large scale commercial dealing in circumvention devices, means or information;

Introduce protections for electronic rights management information (“ERMI”) that identifies content protected by copyright and the terms and conditions of use, and provide criminal penalties for large scale commercial dealing in copyright material where the dealer knows that ERMI has been removed or altered;

and Clarify the extent of making available of digital material by libraries and archives, educational use and time-shifting, and introduces exceptions for format shifting, decompilation and error correction.

It is hoped that legislation to amend the Copyright Act 1994 will be introduced next year.

In view of the wide stakeholder interest in this area, the Cabinet Paper outlining these recommendations is available online at: http://

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