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Copyright prosecution wake-up call to DVD pirates

18 November 2004 Media Statement

Copyright prosecution a wake-up call to DVD pirates

A 15-month jail term handed down to a South Auckland man for selling pirated DVDs is a wake-up call to people seeking to abuse copyright for commercial gain, says Associate Minister of Commerce, Judith Tizard.

"This prosecution shows that New Zealand's copyright laws have teeth and that if copyright owners want to enforce their rights there is legislation in place to support them."

“Copyright is the basis of legal protection for our creative industries. A robust intellectual property and copyright environment is essential to enable strong and confident creative industries, and is an important part of the government’s Growth and Innovation Framework.

Judith Tizard says potential fines for an offender under the Copyright Act are up to $10,000 for every infringing copy, up to a maximum of $150,000, and up to five years in jail.

The government recognises that DVD piracy is a serious issue and is working together with industry and law enforcement agencies to clamp down on this illegal trade. I commend the Motion Picture Association for putting the time and resources into enforcing copyright on behalf of their artists and members. I also commend the Police and Customs officials for the priority they have given to this issue.

"I am currently in discussions with the Minister of Police to see what else can be done to assist people to enforce their intellectual property rights."

Judith Tizard said The government had amended the Copyright Act in October 2003, to further deter copyright piracy, including:

- Providing a ban on the parallel importation of motion picture films for a period of nine months from a title’s first release
- Onus of proof in civil proceedings where it is alleged that films, sound recordings and computer programs that infringe copyright have been imported.


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