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Cablegate: Status Update of New Zealand Copyright Amendment

VZCZCXRO2276
PP RUEHNZ
DE RUEHWL #0807/01 3130256
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 090256Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4878
INFO RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 5030
RUEHNZ/AMCONSUL AUCKLAND PRIORITY 1538
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC PRIORITY 0195
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHDC PRIORITY
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 WELLINGTON 000807

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE PASS TO USTR, STATE FOR EAP/ANP, EEB/IPC JCHAMBERS,
INR, PACOM FOR J01E/J2/J233/J5/SJFHQSTATE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EFIN ETRD KIPR PREL NZ
SUBJECT: STATUS UPDATE OF NEW ZEALAND COPYRIGHT AMENDMENT
BILL


1. (SBU) Summary. New Zealand's 2007 Copyright Bill as
amended by the Parliamentary Select Committee falls short of
international standards set by the World Intellectual
Property Organization's (WIPO) Internet Treaties and is out
of step with the standards set in the domestic legislation of
New Zealand's major trading partners. Two issues of
particular concern to the copyright industry enumerated in
the Bill - technological protection measures (TPMs) and the
issue of Internet Service Provider (ISP) liability - are core
issues of copyright protection crucial to stake holders
throughout the world. The U.S. position is that the
copyright legislation be in line with the same levels of
protection set by the U.S., EU, Australia and other countries
with thriving intellectual property industries. If the Bill
is enacted in its current form, New Zealand will not be able
to provide the legal certainty needed for the development of
on-line products and services, and risks becoming a haven for
internet piracy. End su
mmary.

GNZ Parliament's Controversial Draft IPR Bill
---------------------------------------------

2. (SBU) Ambassador and Econoff met on October 30 with NZ
Minister of Trade Phil Goff, his staff, and Ministry of
Economic Development (MED) officials, to discuss the status
of the NZ Copyright Amendment Bill and to bring to the
Minister's attention shortfalls in the legislation initially
highlighted by both USTR and the major U.S. intellectual
property (IP) trade associations (IIPA - print, MPAA - film,
RIAA - recordings). The Ambassador's message not only
touched on the specific technical corrections needed to bring
several provisions of the Bill into conformance with
international standards but also to explore with the Minister
the effects a substandard copyright regime could have on
trade. We discussed NZ's profile as set out in the U.S.
National Trade Estimate (NTE), which recounts the slow
progress to date that NZ's has made in modernizing its IP
laws and explored the negative impact a poorly drafted law
would have on the IP industry. We brought to the Minister's
attention some of the problems the draft Bill would create,
especially the chilling effect the new criminal sanctions
that could be brought against a copyright holder if he/she
provides misleading information against a perceived
offense/infraction caused by an internet service provider
(ISP). The Ambassador explained that the focus of the Bill
is overly biased in favor of consumers rather than the
copyright holder. Econoff asked the Minister directly why NZ
had not yet adopted the WIPO Internet Treaty as have NZ's
major trading partners, to which he replied, "we are
attempting to move in that direction." His response
contrasts sharply to an earlier response given by MP Tizard
(whose office drafted the copyright bill) who tersely
responded, "we have our reasons for not joining."

3. (SBU) The meeting with Minister Goff ended with his
reassurance that he would raise our concerns in an upcoming
Cabinet meeting. He assured us that the Prime Minister was
aware of USG concerns regarding the copyright bill, and had
heard directly from members of the IP industry in her
capacity as the Arts Minister. We stressed that it would be
better to get the provision of the Bill sorted out first
rather than to force it through a hasty second reading. When
pressed, the Minister would not say if Labour felt confident
the party had the votes to pass the legislation in its
current form. The Embassy arranged to hold a follow-up
meeting with the staff of MED and Ministry of Foreign Affairs
and Trade (MFAT) to help resolve the differences.

4. (SBU) In earlier consultations with the GNZ, Embassy's
Political/Economic Counselor met with Labour MP Tizard
(responsible for the bill's development), and with attorneys
from MED responsible for drafting the legislation, to share
U.S. concerns about the bill's shortfalls. Ambassador
McCormick also raised concerns about the bill's deficiencies
with Labour MP Maharey who also has responsibility for the
copyright bill. (Note: Since assuming responsibility for the
Bill, MP Maharey announced he will vacate his seat in
Parliament at the end of the current term. End note). The
DCM also met with United Future leader, Peter Dunne who
confessed that he was unaware of the deficiencies in the law

WELLINGTON 00000807 002 OF 002


and promised to make further inquiries. In follow-up to
meeting with Trade Minister Goff, Emboffs met on 31 October
with Mark Talbot, Senior Policy Officer for Trade
Negotiations and Wendy Matthews, Legal Advisor from MFAT
along with Bronwyn Turley, IPR Policy Advisor and Silke
Radde, Senior Advisor at MED to explain in detail the
concerns we have in the Bill's deficiencies. We were told
that our message to the various ministers had been heard and
MED was drafting new policy guidance to be discussed in
upcoming Cabinet meeting. To date we have learned through
local industry contacts that MED is reconsidering its
position on ISP provisions but has not given adequate
attention to the TSP provisions in the draft Bill.

5. (SBU) Post has held regular meetings with the Motion
Picture Association's (MPA) local representative, Tony Eaton,
who has had extensive discussions with Silke Radde at MED,
and learned that the Labour Party does not currently have
enough votes to pass the Copyright Bill in its present form.
Opposition National Party's MP Chris Finlayson has officially
registered his objection to the Bill during the second
reading and canvassed other minority parties like NZ First
and ACT to seek their support. Finlayson has also said he
proposed to other parliamentarians to withdraw the bill until
2009 (after elections) or make the required technical
corrections to make the bill suitable to industry. Following
a two-week recess, Parliament resumed on November 6 to
continue deliberations on various legislative measures but
Copyright Bill remains low on the Parliament Order Paper. We
will continue to track MED's work on the draft copyright bill
until Parliament recesses for the Christmas holidays (i.e.,
December 11 through early February).

Comment
-------

6. (SBU) With an estimated turnover of NZ$2.6 billion in
annual sales generated from copyrighted materials in the NZ
market, it makes little economic sense for the GNZ to adopt
standards of copyright protection that are out of phase with
international IP treaty levels, and especially those of its
major trading partners (U.S., EU and Australia).
Furthermore, any consideration of future free trade
discussions would at least require NZ to adopt IP protection
that conforms to the ISP liability and TPM protection
measures that feature in all U.S. free trade agreements.
Post will continue to engage with the MED, MFAT and NZ
parliamentarians to ensure that the New Zealand IP regime
better conforms to international standards.
McCormick

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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