New Zealand joins international copyright treaties

Published: 16 January 2019

New Zealand has joined the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Copyright Treaty (WCT) and Performers and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT) which are intended to ensure greater protection of works and the rights of their authors, producers and performers in the digital environment.

Both the WCT and the WPPT address some of the challenges posed by today's digital technologies, in particular the dissemination of protected material over the internet.

Joining the WPPT means that from 30 December 2018, performers have the right to be identified as the performer and to object to any modification to their performance.  Performers, and in particular musicians, also get property rights in relation to any sound recordings made from their performances.

New Zealand has also joined the 1971 Paris Act of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, which provides creators such as authors, musicians, poets and painters with the means to control how their works are used, by whom, and on what terms.

Joining these three international treaties completes New Zealand’s intellectual property obligations under the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

Amendments to bring the Copyright Act 1994 into conformity with the WCT and WPPT were recently made through the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership Amendment Act 2018.

The Government recently released an issues paper outlining potential issues identified as part of a review of the Copyright Act. Submissions on the Copyright Act Review Issues Paper are now open and will close on 5 April 2019. Further information is available at

Further information about these treaties is available here(external link). Further information about performers’ rights is available on the MBIE website.

Last updated: 14 January 2019