Copyright Act Review

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is reviewing New Zealand's Copyright Act 1994. The review is intended to assess the 1994 Act's effectiveness in the current technological and creative environment. Part of the review process has included a study on intellectual property in the creative sector, which was published in 2016.

Progress so far


MBIE has published its terms of reference, which set out the objectives for the review. These are to:

  • assess how well the current Act is meeting Government objectives for copyright;
  • identify barriers to meeting those Government objectives and the effects these have on stakeholders, such as creators, consumers and licensors/distributors; and
  • generate a plan to address any issues identified.

MBIE has since released an Issues Paper, which sets out five proposed objectives for New Zealand’s copyright system:

  • Provide incentives for the creation and dissemination of works;
  • Permit reasonable access to works, including where exceptions to exclusive rights are likely to benefit the country;
  • Ensure the system is efficient and effective to facilitate its functions and achieve both the core objectives and wider public policy objectives, such as supporting the integrity of the law;
  • Meet New Zealand’s international obligations; and
  • Meet the Crown’s obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi.

The Issues Paper also identifies 22 issues falling within the five broad categories of Rights, Exceptions, Transactions, Enforcement, and Other Issues on which MBIE is seeking comment.

Future of the review


Now that the Issues Paper has been released, MBIE is seeking public submissions until 5 April 2019.

Baldwins is following the Copyright Act review closely and intends to engage in the consultation process once it begins. If you have any questions about the review and the changes that may follow, please contact our copyright specialists.

Meet our experts

  • Joseph Bracewell
    Solicitor, Auckland

  • +64 9 373 3137
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  • Paul Johns
    Head of Dispute Resolution, Auckland

  • +64 9 359 7733
  • +64 27 558 5866
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  • Thomas Huthwaite
    Senior Associate, Wellington

  • +64 4 494 9600
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