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Copy wrong? Copy right!

Copy wrong? Copy right!

This is a blog post that has appeared on InternetNZ's website at: If you would like to be removed from the list that receives blog posts, please email

By Andrew Cushen

Copyright. Its a big issue in an Internet context for a few reasons:

1. Ever since Napster burst onto the scene 15 years ago, the Internet has been regarded as public enemy #1 by the entertainment industry. We still see this playing out today with Global Mode in the last couple of weeks. This encourages the entertainment industry to constantly look for "innovations" in legislation and technical protection that seeks to limit the internet's ability to share copyrighted works. We get concerned about these things because most of the time, those ideas also risk breaking the Internet.

2. We think there might be even more "innovations" on Copyright coming as part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) - but we don't know, because we don't get to see the negotiating text. And those ideas might pose threats to the fair functioning of the Internet too.

3. Re-conceiving what Copyright really means is a big opportunity for how the Internet is used, and what can be created through it. If we can change this debate to how Copyright can be used to encourage innovation and creativity, rather than ever-more draconian moves to "protect" existing copyrights, then we can unlock greater value from both intellectual property debates and from the Internet too.

For these reasons, we have commissioned work from Chalmers & Associates on Copyright and the Internet - you can see this on our website here: Copyright paper (pdf)

This paper considers four key issues:

1. Text and Data mining;

2. Application Programming Interfaces (APIs);
4. Geoblocking; and

5. User Generated Content.

The paper evaluates how different comparable jurisdictions have grappled, or are, grappling with these issues, and proposes a range of solutions as to how these challenges could be met in the context of New Zealand law. Throughout the paper there are key questions raised, designed to stimulate debate and discussion on the issues present - we would greatly appreciate answers to these and any further thoughts. We also thank those InternetNZ members and external parties that have already seen and read this paper and provided their thoughts.

We have commissioned this paper now because we want it to be of use to our lawmakers as they consider changes to New Zealand Copyright law. We believe that such a review should commence soon. To help further with that too, we intend to run a series of public workshops on this in the very near future. If you are interested in being included in these workshops, please contact me at to ensure we send you an invite.

We look forward to your feedback and to the discussion!


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