Review of the Copyright Act 1994

The Government is reviewing the Copyright Act 1994.

In November 2018, we released an Issues Paper for the review, which was the first stage of public consultation on the copyright regime. Consultation closed on 5 April 2019.

Why a review is needed

There have been significant technological changes since the last significant review of the Copyright Act in 2004.

The review is needed to ensure our copyright regime remains fit for purpose in the context of a rapidly changing technological environment. This environment is impacting the way we create, distribute and consume content.

Insights into this environment were highlighted in the Government’s study of the role of copyright and registered designs in the creative sector, completed in 2016:

Copyright and the Creative Sector report [PDF, 2.2 MB]

Objectives for use in the review

In reviewing copyright law, we are holding it up to a set of objectives that express what we believe good copyright law looks like for New Zealand. Our aim is to close as much of the distance between current copyright law and these objectives as we can within the constraints (such as our international commitments).

In the paper below, we have set out the approach we intend to use for developing policy advice in the review of the Copyright Act 1994.

Copyright Act Review 1994: MBIE’s approach to policy development [PDF, 1.2 MB]

The objectives we have adopted in response to feedback on the objectives proposed in the Issues Paper (see below) are as follows.

Objectives specific to copyright policy are to:

  • Promote the supply of copyright works that serve the cultural, economic and social interests of New Zealand by:
    • providing incentives for the creation and dissemination of works, where copyright is the most effective mechanism to do so
    • permitting reasonable access to works for use, modification, self-expression, adaptation and consumption, where exceptions to exclusive rights are likely to have a net benefit for New Zealand.
  • Support creators to obtain fair recognition for their creative effort, exercise a reasonable degree of control over the integrity of their work, and obtain a fair proportion of any revenue attributable to their creative effort.

We also want copyright law to fulfil these policy objectives in ways that are effective, efficient and consistent with our obligations under international law and the Treaty of Waitangi.

Issues Paper consultation

Between November 2018 and April 2019, MBIE consulted on an Issues Paper to seek feedback on how well the copyright regime is functioning and further evidence of issues that could be addressed in the review.

The Issues Paper provides an introduction to copyright concepts and our copyright regime, our proposed objectives for New Zealand’s copyright regime and potential issues with the way the copyright regime is working.

We held public workshops during the consultation period to encourage and facilitate conversations about the copyright regime and the issues explored in the Issues Paper.

Find out more about the Issues Paper consultation

Read the submissions on the Issues Paper(external link)

Next steps

We are analysing the many issues raised during consultation on the Issues Paper . This will help inform the development of a paper that will set out potential options for change to the copyright regime.