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A Warm Welcomed Change for Aotearoa Copyright Terms

Story Published Friday 1 July 2022

APRA AMCOS today welcomes the completion of the free trade agreement between Aotearoa New Zealand and the European Union.

“This is a significant announcement for New Zealand on many fronts but the confirmation of the extension of the term of copyright is something that will benefit the entire creative community here in Aotearoa” says Anthony Healey, Head of APRA AMCOS’ New Zealand.

Under the free trade agreement announced today, New Zealand has agreed to extend copyright term by 20 years for authors, performers and producers. Copyright is a form of intellectual property right. It gives the person who creates an original work exclusive rights to copy, publish, publicly perform, transmit and adapt their material. The right is limited though and in New Zealand has it has been limited, generally to 50 years, while throughout the world, and in particular Europe, that protection has been for a period of 70 years. This change brings those rights enjoyed by New Zealand creators and producers in line with those enjoyed creators worldwide.

“It is important now that we make these amendments to our copyright framework quickly, as every day recordings fall into the public domain unfairly” says Healey

Songwriter and APRA writer director Bic Runga adds “to think that creators here in Aotearoa New Zealand have been afforded a lesser time frame in which to earn a living from their work than others around the world, is crazy. This is a major step from the government to agree to an extension and put us on a level playing field. If we want to play on a global stage these rights are critical.”

New Zealand will have four years from entry into force of the Agreement to implement these changes to the Copyright Act 1994.