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Copyright (New Technologies) Amendment Bill passes

Hon Judith Tizard
Associate Minister of Commerce

8 April 2008 Media Statement

Copyright (New Technologies) Amendment Bill passes third reading

Legislation that updates New Zealand's copyright law to ensure that we keep up to speed with recent advances in digital technology passed its third and final reading in the House today by a vote of 111 to 10, announced the Associate Commerce Minister Judith Tizard.

“The Copyright (New Technologies) Amendment Bill forms part of the Labour-led government’s wide-ranging reform of intellectual property law in general,” said Judith Tizard.

This work supports the government’s goals of promoting innovation, creativity and economic growth, meeting the needs of business, providing greater clarity and certainty over the scope and enforcement of intellectual property rights, taking account of international practice, and complying with New Zealand’s international obligations.

“A robust, up to date intellectual property rights regime is an essential part of an innovative, growing economy,” said Judith Tizard.

The Bill will update and clarify how copyright applies to new technologies in today’s digital environment, promote a modern legal framework that guides the protection and use of copyright material, ensure the effective operation of the Act in the face of emerging technologies, and ensure that the Copyright Act remains fair and effective in the face of emerging needs of a dynamic and technology-supporting economy.

“The Bill will maintain the balance between protection, access and use already established in the original Act,” said Judith Tizard.



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* Key provisions of the bill are attached.


Key Provisions of the Copyright (New Technologies) Bill

- It amends and replaces existing terms to create a technology neutral framework

- It creates a technology-neutral right of communication to the public.

- Technology-specific terms such as broadcasting and cable programme service are replaced with technology-neutral terms such as communicate and communication work.

- It clarifies the liability of Internet Service Providers “ISPs” when it comes to copyright infringement.

- It introduces a limited exception from copyright infringement where the ISP merely provides the physical facilities to enable a communication to take place.

- It provides that there is no liability for an ISP when storing and caching infringing copyright material when it deletes or prevents access to infringing material as soon as possible after it becomes aware that the material is likely to infringe copyright. To facilitate ISPs becoming aware of infringing material, the Bill provides for a template notice to be used.

- It updates the existing permitted acts for fair dealing and educational establishments, libraries and archives.

- Educational establishments, libraries and archives can create and store digital copies of works on the Internet or other electronic retrieval systems, provided certain conditions are met.

- It provides a new limited exception to copyright infringement for Educational Resource Suppliers under certain conditions. This will help schools to make greater use of audio visual copyright material without infringing copyright.

- It provides a format shifting exception for copying sound recordings for personal use or the personal use of their household provided certain conditions are met. This exception for format shifting of sound recordings aligns the law with the public’s needs for listening to music, although it still takes into account the protection afforded by copyright to the copyright owner.

- Two key conditions to the format shifting exception is that the original purchaser must not make more than one copy for use on each device owned and the purchaser must retain both the original version of the sound recording purchased and the copy made. This provision does not legitimize copying of CDs for friends or online file-sharing, both these actions remain an infringement of copyright.

- It provides new limited exceptions for decompilation or adaptation of computer programs under certain conditions.

- It provides that a lawful user of a computer program does not infringe copyright in it by observing, studying or testing the functions of the program in order to determine the ideas and principles that underlie the program.

- Copyright owners are increasingly using technological protection measures “TPM’s” as a practical means to protect their copyright and to develop new business models for the dissemination of their material in the digital environment.

- The previous Act allows copyright owners to take action against a person who supplies or manufactures devices, means or information specifically designed to circumvent copy-protection and which are intended to be used to make infringing copies of copyright works.

- The Amended Act will give more comprehensive protection to TPMs in response to the increased risk of copyright piracy by giving copyright owners the ability to take action in respect of devices, means or information where circumvention could enable the infringement of all the copyright owners exclusive rights, and not just copying (e.g. webcasting).

- It introduces criminal offence provisions in limited circumstances where circumvention of a TPM is for large-scale commercial dealing in copyright material.

- It introduces new provisions to enable the actual exercise of permitted acts where TPMs have been applied.

- It continues the 9 month parallel importation ban on films from their international release date (which was set in legislation to expire on 31 October 2008). The Bill puts in place the 9 month ban until 31 October 2013.

- The purpose of the ban is to encourage investment in and the promotion of film production, distribution and exhibition industries and to protect cinema ticket sales by ensuring a film’s cinematic exhibition does not coincide with its availability on video tape or in DVD format.

Further Information

Background information is available on the MED website at: http://www.med.govt.nz/templates/ContentTopicSummary____1103.aspx


ENDS

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