Hansard and Journals
Copyright (New Technologies and Performers’ Rights) Amendment Bill — Second Reading
Copyright (New Technologies and Performers’ Rights) Amendment Bill
- Debate resumed from 4 September.
Dr RICHARD WORTH (National) : This is complex and difficult legislation, and I hear with regret from Mr Deputy Speaker that I have only 6 minutes to speak on what is material of substantial academic and intellectual interest. So I am going to skid over the top of the challenging issues the Commerce Committee faced when it looked at this bill.
I think that in very general terms one can say that copyright is a property right that exists in original works, and the Copyright Act 1994 gave to copyright owners exclusive rights that allowed them to control certain aspects of a work’s exploitation while at the same time provided limited exceptions to those rights for copyright users. One of the events that characterised the progress of the bill before the Commerce Committee was the appointment of expert advisers, which I think in this setting is something to be very much encouraged. Not only does it allow officials from the Government to offer a policy input to legislation but with the appointment of expert advisers it sets up a foil so that the practical ramifications, the ramifications from a commercial perspective, can be looked at and considered by the select committee. In that way, I think, the chances of having workable legislation are significantly enhanced.
The select committee made a number of changes.
Shane Jones: What about the universities?
Dr RICHARD WORTH: I will come back to the point Mr Jones has made. I know he will make a very substantial contribution to this debate, and I look forward to that. But as he settles back in his seat I do not sense that the time for that contribution from him has quite yet come.
The sorts of issues we looked at, and the sorts of issues we decided were appropriately to be changed, touched these areas. First of all, there is the issue of copying for educational purposes. Then there is the issue of storing information for educational purposes. In that same context there is an issue of copying by librarians and archivists for replacement. There are conditions for libraries and archives in making and supplying digital copies. There are issues relating to observing, studying, or testing computer programs, and the response of the select committee to that particular issue was to recommend the insertion of a new section to clarify that a lawful user of a computer program may observe, study, or test the functioning of a program under certain circumstances.
But it became tricky—there were issues of conflict or division—certainly in one area, and that is the area of what are called communication works. We looked at that, against the background of submissions we received on issues such as format shifting for personal use, time shifting, free public playing or showing of a communication work simultaneous with reception, and reception and retransmission of broadcasts in cable programme services.
I should say something about the latter, because I think that that debate is still very much alive. It will be visited in the Committee of the whole House when we look at issues arising there, because National agreed to support the passage of this bill only with some reservations. One of the issues that National certainly strongly held out on concerned the provisions in the so-called section 88, which is the topic I have just touched on. The provisions deal with the rebroadcast of free-to-air television over cable networks. The bill makes it clear that the reception and delivery of any such rebroadcast must be in the original format of the free-to-air TV programme.
I have referred to that issue of cable networks, but we know that cable networks have not yet taken off in this country. That is significant because Mr Gordon Copeland, an Independent member in this Parliament, has produced a Supplementary Order Paper that would clearly give significant life to section 88. He is seeking to extend the provision of section 88 to satellite rebroadcast or simulcast free-to-air television programming. That is quite significant. It has impacts for Television New Zealand and Sky television. It is fair to say that there has been a degree of lobbying around those issues, but the Supplementary Order Paper is one issue that I think will be quite significant in the Committee of the whole House.
The second issue, which has been raised by a number of parties since this bill was reported back, relates to Internet service provider obligations. In this world we are looking to compare our stance on complex issues of copyright across the board with the stance that other nations have taken—most particularly, Australia, Canada, and the US. The sorts of issues that arise there are the requirement for a policy to terminate accounts of repeat copyright infringers, the liability if users infringe copyright, and the liability for storing infringing material. I think I have said enough to indicate that there is some complexity around these issues, so I would like to go back—to retreat, as it were—to a more simple position, and to say in my remaining time what this bill is about and why it is needed.
The bill makes amendments to the Copyright Act to take account of the impacts of new technology, such as digital music and film. The bill tries to take account of those impacts while maintaining a balance between the often competing interests of creators, owners, and users of copyright works. The bill is really part of a wider reform or process developed to ensure that New Zealand’s intellectual property legislation is up to date, takes account of international developments, and is relevant in the 21st century.
Sadly I sense that my time is up, so I will close there. But I look forward to a heady and determined involvement when these issues come before the Committee of the whole House for the deliberation they are so clearly entitled to.
NANDOR TANCZOS (Green) : The Greens alone opposed this bill at its first reading. We voted against it because, contrary to the ministry’s 2002 advice, it served to protect access control technology, which is technology that has been used to price discriminate and control geographical distribution of works, to the detriment of users. We opposed the bill because although it tried to provide for fair use, that provision was temporary. In addition, it failed to provide for visual as well as audio media. We opposed it because of its potential to hinder innovation in that blurry world between the personal and the commercial, and because of its potential to hinder the development of compatibility and interoperability in products and hinder legitimate security research. We opposed it because it protected the interests of the rich and powerful against those of ordinary people. It tied the hands of people who might seek to circumvent any number of encrypted intrusions incorporated into digital works, even when those might be contrary to New Zealand law.
So has the Commerce Committee made it any better? Yes and no. Let us begin with the issue of format shifting—the copying of works to different formats for more convenient or preferable use. A typical example might be ripping a CD to a computer or an MP3 player. The select committee removed the sunset clause from the fair-use provisions, and we welcome that. It made no sense to recognise for the first time a right to, for example, copy a track from a CD on to a device but then have that right last for only a couple of years. However, the select committee countered that move with some retrogressive steps. The bill now requires that the owner of a recording keep hold of the original. One of the reasons why I started ripping CDs on to my computer was the realisation that the promise of indestructibility was just another corporate con when it came to CDs, and that my CDs were not lasting even as long as my vinyl. Under those circumstances, why would I hang on to a broken disc? In addition, the committee has retained provisions that unreasonably restrict time shifting and has clarified that copyright owners can opt out of fair-use provisions. Presumably, that might mean just putting a sticker on the cover of a CD. We would find that unacceptable.
Lastly, the provision still excludes video, because in the words of the committee: “… format-shifting of music for private and domestic use is widespread, while format-shifting of other types of copyrighted works is not.” Maybe it is not so widespread as to have reached the ears of the members of the committee, but even John Key is now on YouTube. It is not that I expect any but the most loyal or masochistic to be watching him on a portable, but the point is that the assumptions that the committee used in making that determination simply do not hold in the modern world. We believe that the public has been let down by format shifting in this area and, like other ill-conceived prohibitions, they will simply ignore it.
The clauses around digital rights management, or technology protection measures, remain problematic. It is good to see a move to more neutral language. It is good to see the definition of technological protection measures being amended to specifically exclude controls on access to a work for non-infringing purposes such as regional zone access protection. It is also good to see an amendment to allow a user to seek assistance from a qualified person to exercise a permitted act using a technological protection measure circumvention device. However, we are not clear about how a member of the public can legitimately get hold of a technological protection measure circumvention device that they are allowed to use in the exercising of permitted acts, if the sale and distribution of the device is itself an offence.
The last thing I would like to discuss relates to Internet service provider obligations. The Green Party welcomes the clarification the committee made in relation to new section 92B. However, we are extremely concerned about section 92C and the retention of the notice and take-down regime previously referred to by the Minister in the second reading in relation to claims of breach of copyright. Under the bill, if an Internet service provider is informed about a claimed breach of copyright in relation to material it stores, then it is liable if it does not “as soon possible after becoming aware … of facts or circumstances that make it apparent that the material is likely to infringe copyright in the work, delete the material or prevent access to it;”. I think it is important that members note the words “likely to infringe”, because an Internet service provider, in practice, will interpret this as “might possibly infringe a copyright work”, because it simply cannot afford to take the risk.
This sort of measure can easily be abused, and has been abused in other jurisdictions. The recent case of Solid Energy attempting to injunct a satirical annual report put together by opponents of its Happy Valley coal mine is a case in point. Under this provision, the Internet service provider would have had to remove the material immediately Solid Energy complained, even though the court in that case ended up finding substantially in favour of the defendants. The Green Party would much prefer a notice provision whereby notification of a claim of breach of copyright would require the Internet service provider to notify the person responsible for the material alleged to be in breach. In most cases, the person will either admit guilt or simply fail to respond. Both of those examples would lead to the immediate removal of the material. Only a small percentage would contest the claim, and the matter could then be adjudicated in an impartial manner. We believe that this approach would provide fair protection to copyright holders while also protecting legitimate use, or would at least allow claims to be contested. The current notice and take-down provision, even with the right to sue for unjustified proceedings, does not do that, especially in relation to cases where there is a reasonable argument to be made in either direction.
As a secondary matter, I also understand that the select committee has recommended that a notice by a copyright holder to an Internet service provider be in a prescribed form, with fairly strong penalties on copyright holders if they make errors in that notification. This seems to us to be quite bizarre. Surely, to simply ensure that the intent of the communication is clear and contains the necessary information should be enough.
The Greens had hoped to be able to support this legislation following the select committee process, but we find ourselves unable to do so at this stage because of what we consider to be outstanding flaws. I will be talking to the Government and the Minister in charge of the bill, and I will also be looking to move a number of amendments during the Committee of the whole House, in the hope that we might still be able to see this bill come through the process in a form that the Green Party would support. We agree that it is very important to get this legislation in place, and that it is important to get it right. There are a number of problems with the existing legal situation that need to be remedied fairly speedily.
Hon BRIAN DONNELLY (NZ First) : New Zealand First did not have a member sitting on the Commerce Committee, but we have been briefed on the progress of the work in it. Pretty obviously, people will be aware that the Copyright (New Technologies and Performers’ Rights) Amendment Bill amends the Copyright Act 1994. There is a real need to amend that legislation and to bring it up to date because of the emergence of new technologies.
I look at Maryan Street over there. She would know that one of the issues around schoolteaching in the 1970s and 1980s was the introduction of the photocopier. The moment the photocopier came along we could suddenly take out large chunks of a whole pile and range of different textbooks. Prior to that, we could not do it. The photocopier is almost obsolete now in terms of the new technologies that have developed since that time. So, pretty obviously, this is a timely measure. One amendment to the legislation is to ensure that within 5 years the whole process is to be reviewed. Given the way technology is moving, it will probably be time for us to update this particular law within that space of time, not after 13 years as we are doing here now.
One of the things that the people who put the legislation together have tried to do—and I know that the Commerce Committee has tried to adhere to this—is to maintain the existing balance between the interests of the owners and the users of copyright works; in other words, to take up the general principles and the basic elements of the Copyright Act 1994, then try to restructure it and reword it in such a way that it would meet the demands, possibilities, and potentials of the new technologies that have become available. Just so that listeners are aware, I say that the bill actually incorporates many aspects of the two treaties negotiated by members of the World Intellectual Property Organization—or WIPO—the World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty, and the World Intellectual Property Organization Performances and Phonograms Treaty.
The first thing that we need to take note of is that the Commerce Committee has recommended a name change. It is a sensible change that purely and simply changes the name from the Copyright (New Technologies and Performers’ Rights) Amendment Bill to the Copyright (New Technologies) Amendment Bill. It simplifies it. Although the legislation certainly affects a few performers’ rights it is largely around the new technologies, and it simply seems to be redundant to have the additional words. Let us keep things nice and simple. New Zealand First thinks that it is a pretty sensible move.
Nandor Tanczos, the previous speaker, talked about format shifting. That is one of the issues that the Commerce Committee addressed, and it is something we all have to get our heads round. Those people who have been putting their CDs on MP3s and iPods have technically been breaking the law. Yet they are not criminals; they are just normal citizens doing what normal citizens do. I go and buy a CD, and it is pretty tough for me to carry a CD player when I am going for a walk, so I put it on my iPod and, whoops-a-daisy, I have shifted the format and breached the copyright law. The designers of this legislation have used some real sense in terms of saying that, yes, it is OK, if one owns the material, to shift it from one format to the other, but what one cannot then do is sell off the original or even give away the original—in other words, cut into the potential market that the producer or the creator of that particular item had in the first place. That seems to me to be eminently sensible. It takes on board the common sense of New Zealanders shifting from one format to another to make use of new technologies without breaching, I believe, the rights of the producers in this particular case. New Zealand First certainly believes that the legislation has actually got the formula right when it comes to format shifting. We also believe that the legislation has got it right in terms of time shifting—the retransmission sort of stuff, and I will come to section 88 in a little while.
Education is, fairly obviously, a very important use of material produced in a variety of different forms, whether it is in word format, musical format, or whatever. We need to be able to use it. As an ex-teacher—and Pita Sharples will tell members this—I say that teachers need to be able to use multiple resources to put together lessons and to have themes around lessons, and to create for young people the sort of learning we want. Gone are the good old days when the education department came out with piles and piles of textbooks, and generations of kids worked from the same book on Euclid’s geometry for decade after decade. Those days have gone now.
Teachers need to look at the needs of their class, the composition of their class, where the students have come from, then design their courses around those needs. Educationists have to be able to use material for the purpose of going about their particular jobs. My experience with photocopies is that schoolteachers actually used to push the boundaries of the law quite extensively, and I think it is quite good that we start getting this clear, so that we do get a balance of rights—the rights of schoolteachers, the rights of students to learn in the best possible way, but also the rights of the producers of that material to be fairly paid for what they are producing.
Once again, although Recording Industry Association of New Zealand may not be entirely comfortable with what the Commerce Committee and the original designers have come up with, New Zealand First believes that largely we have got it right. There may be some tinkering at the Committee stage, and that is fine; that is not a problem. We are still listening to people who are coming to us.
People are also coming to us with issues around the responsibilities of Internet service providers. We make them so onerous, to the point that the providers are liable for just about anything on their network, regardless of whether they have power over it. We might as well shut down all our Internet networks, because no one will be prepared to operate as an Internet service provider.
We need to get the balance right. Have we got it right? There is still, I think, a little bit of debate around that, but it is about fine-tuning. It is certainly not about large-scale changes to the legislation at this time. I would have to say the same thing applies to technological protection measure circumvention devices; the law has been written in such a way to ensure that these devices are not available for sale for people to use and to circumvent the intent of this law.
I think there will be debate of section 88, around the provision in the current copyright law for cable television to be able to take up and retransmit almost simultaneously—one cannot retransmit exactly simultaneously. I have to say to the Māori Party that free-to-air material will have quite an impact upon Māori Television and the material offered through it.
We are well aware of a Supplementary Order Paper that not only makes that retransmission available to cable television—which is just TelstraClear—but makes it available to satellite television, and there is a very strong likelihood it will make it available to the Internet, in which case we are opening up portholes to the world. We need to think very, very seriously about the impact of that Supplementary Order Paper that is being proposed at this point in time. We know also that the Government is planning to put up a Supplementary Order Paper to repeal section 88, which would take away the rights of cable television and the rights of those who have made an investment in cable television.
So some work is still to be done on this legislation, but New Zealand First members largely believe that the Government, in its first preparation, and the officials, and then the Commerce Committee with its fine-tuning, have actually got this right. At this point in time, New Zealand First will be supporting this legislation.
Dr PITA SHARPLES (Co-Leader—Māori Party) : Tēnā koe, Mr Deputy Speaker. I was looking over a review written in 1973 of the classic recording of Ma-wai-hakona Maori Association, Songs of Maori Heroes. The review, written by Alan Armstrong, was effusive in its praise of that album, describing it as one of the most important recordings of Māori music to be issued for some years. But the reviewer was far less pleased with the fact that all the original items were labelled copyright. As he said: “Such a move would be unprecedented amongst Maori groups and would certainly have tarnished Ma-wai in the minds of many. The free circulation, use and even adaptation of the works of others has always been a feature of most Maori music and composition.” Those are strong words indeed, and they provide a dramatic contrast to our current performance climate, in which Māori performers are passionate about the need to protect their cultural heritage, which provides a source of material for performance.
The 1973 album is also interesting in laying the foundation for the developments we see reflected in this bill, the Copyright (New Technologies and Performers’ Rights) Amendment Bill. One of the tracks on the album was of a canoe poi, “Hoea Rā”, penned by Hera Dovey Kātene-Horvarth, a Ngāti Toa kuia. Aunty Dovey was a stalwart member of Ngati Poneke, resident composer for Ma-wai-hakona club, and patron of the Aotearoa Maori Chorale. That poi has an honourable story of its own. Aunty Dovey wrote the poi in the times of the mass outrage over the loss of Māori land. The poi was performed en masse at Waitangi in 1974, and it appealed to everyone to keep paddling through the turbulent waters of injustice in order to one day achieve peace. But “Hoea Rā” was also known for becoming the source of a 1975 Rolf Harris hit, “We’re the Maoris”, from his She’ll Be Right album. In that hit the copyright was attributed to Ma-wai-hakona Maori Association, ensuring that the club earned due recognition and monetary return for the use, or misuse, that the Australian entertainer made of the original composition “Hoea Rā”. Trust copyright? Sure can!
I have chosen to bring this story to the House because I believe it indicates the history that Māori performers have of respecting the cultural integrity of works once they enter the public domain. Just as Ma-wai-hakona Maori Association stood for the collective cultural rights over 30 years ago, Toi Māori Aotearoa has consistently promoted the concerns that Māori performers have about retaining the collective ownership of Māori cultural knowledge and intellectual property. Toi Māori Aotearoa represents 10 national art form committees, and it argues for the need for widespread discussion about the rights provided to performers in legislation. Those rights stand to be threatened by the ongoing risk of piracy and unauthorised digital downloading. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry reports that 20 billion tracks were downloaded in 2005 alone. That attack on cultural integrity jeopardises the security of the recording industry, musicians, and songwriters alike.
This bill is intended to address the risks that come with digital technology, by clarifying how copyright exists in a digital environment. The submission of the New Zealand Society of Authors outlined that it is imperative that the move to digitisation must not exacerbate an already complex situation. It reminds us all that an author’s copyright material may be all that he or she has to earn an income from, and there must be sufficient protection in place to protect the material from unauthorised copying.
The environment in which new technology sits is a completely different world from the one of 1973, and that only adds to the intensity of the fight that Māori publishers, performers, artists, creators, owners, and users have in seeking the protection of mātauranga Māori. But there is one key point of commonality between the 1973 fight and the 2007 legislation. That is the call for collective rights to be preserved and protected as the cultural property rights that have been created over the generations. Te Rōpū Whakahau, the professional association of Māori who work in libraries, archives, and information services, explains this view: “We contend that there is a need to develop a category of collective ongoing and enduring rights that will ensure that Māori retain the right to control the appropriate expression and transmission of our cultural heritage. This control is one that can’t be invested in an individual and protected by conventional intellectual property mechanisms such as copyright.”
What Te Rōpū Whakahau is saying—and indeed many Māori performers say this—is that the comprehensive protection of mātauranga Māori requires unique measures—measures that could well result from the Wai 262 rulings. It is widely hoped that the tribunal’s conclusion on Wai 262 will advocate for a package of measures, such as sui generic systems, customary law, intellectual property laws, and preservation initiatives—in effect, new systems to protect Māori knowledge. Wai 262 seeks recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples to their own control and decision making over taonga. The goal is to ensure that the integrity of Māori culture is retained and treasured.
We in the Māori Party commend the intention of this bill in balancing protection with access for users to cultural property, including indigenous knowledge and culture. But alongside our disappointment with the omission of any mention of collective property rights, we are also concerned that the bill does not appear to comply with international law and practice in three forms. We note the concerns of the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand and of Independent Music New Zealand that this bill is out of step with copyright developments in other territories, and particularly those in Australia, the United Kingdom, USA, and the European Union. The concern of those organisations is that 1996 World Intellectual Property Organization treaties established specific measures to give legal protection against circumvention—procedures that they suggest this bill falls well short on. It is their considered opinion that the failure to exclude circumvention devices clearly covered by the laws of other nations could, in effect, make New Zealand a haven for the manufacture and sale of circumvention devices that are prohibited in other countries.
Those organisations also draw attention to the creation of a whole new category of work—a communication work—that sets up a new status for any person who communicates a work, such as in a sound recording or a film. A new category is dreamt up, with rights that clearly conflict with the rights of the creators of the work, as well as clashing with international treaty obligations.
The third limitation in relation to the protection of cultural and intellectual property is particularly relevant to indigenous knowledge. There is no reference in the bill to the international context of cultural restoration and the nurturing and protection of the traditional knowledge. A strong comparator could be found in looking at the experiences of the Sami of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia. Those States have established a reproduction rights organisation that is set up and governed by indigenous peoples to represent the interests of the Sami culture. It is a model we could have emulated. Another example could be found in the Pacific Model Law for the Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Expressions of Culture or, indeed, as I referred to at the first reading of this bill, the Mātaatua Declaration on Cultural and Intellectual Property Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which sets in place a framework for protecting, controlling, and valuing indigenous cultural heritage.
Māori concerns around the treatment of cultural objects in the electronic environment are basically focused around the fear of the loss of control of information when it is digitised. In the days when Aunty Dovey’s lyrics were transformed into a Rolf Harris song, the ownership of the original poi was firmly retained by the writer Dovey Kātene. But in an electronic environment, the chances of retaining any cultural property right are greatly threatened by the increase in availability. Once an item is digitised and placed on the Internet, access is no longer controlled, and cultural safety is no longer guaranteed. There are too many risks and dangers inherent in this legislation for us to do anything but vote against it. Thank you.
Hon LUAMANUVAO WINNIE LABAN (Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector) : Kia ora, talofa lava, and warm Pacific greetings. It is my pleasure indeed to stand to speak in support of the Copyright (New Technologies and Performers’ Rights) Amendment Bill. I also want to thank the submitters and the Commerce Committee for their hard work and participation.
The bill amends the Copyright Act 1994 and promotes a legal framework that guides the protection and use of copyright material. The bill creates a more flexible framework for technology to operate within the Copyright Act, and will ensure the effective operation of the Copyright Act in the face of emerging technologies. The bill also clarifies the liabilities of Internet service providers and copyright infringement, and it strengthens technical protection measures, meaning copyright holders can better guard against piracy.
Technology has vastly improved, and our world is vastly different from the world of 1994 when the Copyright Act was passed. Indeed, new technologies are changing the way our citizens here in New Zealand and the citizens of the world create, share, and interact with each other digitally and over the Internet. The ability for new media to be broadcast on the Internet and sent around the globe in seconds has existed for a few years, but we are now seeing a real impact from this. Now everyone can broadcast and share new or existing material outside of and away from traditional media. There has been a huge rise in independent media through blogs and online news websites and a huge rise in video and audio across the Internet, through websites such as YouTube and others. MP3 players and flash drives are much cheaper, easier to use, and can hold a great deal more on them. The portability of information on digital media is impressive, but copyright holders need adequate protection from piracy.
However, we do not want to make everyday use of digital technology impossible or against the law. A good balance is needed and I believe that this bill strikes that balance, but it is not as easy as it sounds. On one hand we have the rights of individuals to use, share, and copy information and digital media, and on the other we have the authors, editors, and creators of those media who need to be protected and in some cases compensated. Kiwis are not just consumers of digital media; we dream, we innovate, and we create a great deal of digital music, film, and other media, too. We want to ensure that our creative industries in these areas are adequately protected. Members will recall what happened to Sione’s Wedding. We do not want a repeat of that. reminds us that the digital age is a time not just of great opportunity but also of new and previously unimaginable threats to business. Copyright law is key to this balance and key to this protection. Solid copyright protection promotes investment in creativity, arts, and innovation. This is good news for creators, good news for consumers, and good news for the economic transformation of New Zealand’s economy. It is about fair play, which is a Kiwi value of our New Zealand society and our national identity as Kiwis, and proud Kiwis.
One area of this bill of high interest to the public is that dealing with format shifting—for example, copying CDs on to an iPod or MP3 player. I am pleased that the Commerce Committee clarified this area, and I am enormously grateful that our committee worked hard to address this issue. Amendments were made to clarify that private and domestic use includes personal use in a public place—for example, someone using an MP3 player on his or her way to work on the bus, a bike, or the train. A sunset clause was deleted, which clears up any confusion over whether people who purchase older sound recordings can continue to format-shift these in the future. The bill removes a number of compliance costs for libraries and simplifies the use of digital copies of work within libraries and our educational establishments. I know that our librarians and archivists will be pleased with these changes.
In response to the input of National’s Richard Worth on section 88, I want to say that Maryan Street gave a very comprehensive explanation of this whole issue in her recent second reading speech. The bill had sought to remove section 88, which deals with the retransmission of free-to-air television services. Although the select committee has reinstated section 88, this section does not encourage investment in telecommunications, and a Supplementary Order Paper will seek to repeal this section of the Act.
The bill clarifies the law for the benefit of Internet service providers. It will ensure there is no liability for any copying that takes place as a matter of course as their business Internet service providers. It also means that Internet service providers will have no liability for storing material in the course of their business that may infringe on copyright, as long as they act to remove it when they find material that is in breach, or they have reason to believe is in breach, of copyright. This is a sensible amendment and it will clear up ambiguity in this area.
Finally, I am glad that this bill will be reviewed within 5 years. Given the pace at which technology is changing our world, this seems a very sensible idea. What is important is its effective operation. The bill strikes a fair and reasonable balance. It clarifies a number of provisions and updates the Copyright Act 1994 to cater for today’s digital age.
In summary, this law is important because of the increasing emergence of new digital technologies. The use of these technologies is becoming more and more commonplace. We need legislation that will protect copyright holders from piracy. Digital formats and the Internet have made the copying and spreading of pirated material easier. However, we do not want ironclad laws that make the everyday, legitimate use of digital technology against the law. I thank the Commerce Committee and, more important, the submitters for participating. I especially thank Judith Tizard for her leadership and her stewardship of this bill. Thank you.
LINDSAY TISCH (National—Piako) : In the few minutes remaining I want to dwell very quickly on a couple of issues, but first I would say that this legislation is piecemeal law reform that falls well short of what good legislation regarding the emergence of technology, especially the Internet, should be doing. In fact, this goes back to the year 2000. One would have thought that a bill of this sort at this time would cater for all the issues that have been brought forward through submissions, but in fact it does not.
Although we note that the introduction in the bill’s commentary states: “The Ministry of Economic Development advised us that this legislation will be reviewed in five years’ time to ensure that copyright legislation in New Zealand keeps pace with technological advances.”, the point I make here is that in the 21st century we should be far more proactive than we have been. I want first to draw the House’s attention to some issues that have not been resolved, and they were issues that were spelt out to the Ministry of Economic Development.
- Debate interrupted.