The Copyright Act 1994 (the Act) allows copyright owners to control certain activities relating to the use and dissemination of their works. The legislation provides for border protection measures and both civil and criminal action infringement penalties. The Act is accompanied by the Copyright Regulations 1995.
In New Zealand, a number of other statutes provide border control and enforcement procedures and remedies for owners of intellectual property that have had their rights infringed. These include:
- Layout Designs Act 1994
- Crimes Act 1961
- Trade Marks Act 2002
- Fair Trading Act 1986
- Consumer Guarantees Act 1993
- Designs Act 1953
- Patents Act 2013
- Plant Variety Rights Act 1987.
Under the Act, the courts have a wide range of civil remedies available to them (under the respective Acts and under common law) to compensate aggrieved copyright owners for proven incidences of copyright infringement. These include interim injunctions, search orders for the preservation of evidence, damages or orders to account for profits, and ‘mandatory’ injunctions including orders to deliver up infringing goods.
The Act also contains criminal offences for the infringement of copyright works for commercial gain. A person convicted for such activity may be imprisoned for up to five years or fined up to NZ$150,000.
The New Zealand Copyright Tribunal was originally created by the Copyright Act 1962 and is an independent body that sits with the Ministry of Justice Tribunals Unit. The Tribunal hears disputes and applications about copyright licencing schemes, individuals (current owner, licensees and prospective licensees) and file sharing infringements under the Act.
The Tribunal can decide whether the terms of a collective licence are reasonable, and whether an applicant is entitled to a licence and on what terms.
The Ministry of Justice website has more information about filing a licensing scheme dispute with the Tribunal, and applying for a file sharing infringement hearing after issuing final enforcement notices.
New Zealand Copyright Tribunal Decisions are published online and can be searched using keywords and terms and by party name and year.
File sharing infringement
See our file sharing notice regime guide for an overview of the New Zealand file sharing infringement notice regime process. For more detailed information about the regime, see the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment website.
For information about how and when you can make an application to the Copyright Tribunal, see the Ministry of Justice website.