LAUNCH OF THE COPYRIGHT COUNCIL'S ``ECONOMIC GROWTH OF COPYRIGHT INDUSTRIES'' REPORT

  • John Luxton
Associate Minister of International Trade

WELLINGTON

Special guests Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to have been invited to launch the Copyright Council's report ``Economic Growth Of Copyright Industries''. The topic could not be more pertinent to a Minister of Commerce.

This is my first opportunity to address an audience with an overriding interest in copyright. I wish to express my appreciation of the work undertaken by the Council. This report has highlighted for me the broad range of enterprises to which copyright applies.

Copyright Council: Report

I now want to dwell for a moment on the report being launched today. This report is the latest in a line of reports produced by BERL for the Copyright Council. The Council's last report on the export growth in copyright related industries was released in 1994. The focus of the report being launched tonight is the broader commercial importance of copyright.

This report is comprehensive in scope. The report contains some important messages about outputs, imports and exports, the private consumption of copyright based goods and services and international comparisons as they relate to the copyright sector. Some key facts contained in the report are:

Copyright industries increased their proportion of GDP between 1987 and 1994 from 3.1% to 3.4%.

There has been a move to greater value added products in this sector as gross output has declined in the 1987/1994 period by 0.5%.

Exports of copyright related goods rose by 7.7% between 1993 and 1996.

The largest contributor to the rise in exports of copyright goods in the 1993 - 1996 period was clothing and footwear, with a nearly 70% rise. The report suggests that the New Zealand footwear and clothing industry is managing to remain, or become, competitive in certain segments of this market. This is an encouraging sign.

Employment in the copyright sector between 1991 and 1996 rose by 25.4%.

The copyright sector employed a total of 26413 full time equivalent employees in 1996. Computer programmers and analysts are the most significant in terms of the number of people employed in this sector, with 6626 full time equivalent employees.
What these facts tell us is that the copyright based industries are making an important contribution to New Zealand's economy. Changes in the copyright policy environment since 1994

I am sure that you will agree that copyright is a dynamic area. Copyright law must meet the needs of a wide range of creators including corporate business, artists producing ``one-off'' originals and the vast number of consumers of copyright protected goods. The challenge for the Government is to ensure that for copyright, like intellectual property policy generally, it has struck the right balance between the need to provide an incentive to innovate and the need to protect the public interest.

In 1994 the Copyright Act was a Bill before Parliament. There were difficult issues to resolve as technology had advanced at such a rate that copying was easier. Copyright legislation needed to keep pace. Many submissions were made to the Select Committee considering the Bill. These submissions, both for and against the proposed reforms, reflected the intense debate in the area of copyright. Every attempt was made to ensure that the Act would be robust and able to respond to change in the commercial environment.

Amendments to the copyright legislation also needed to be made due to the WTO Agreement on the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (the TRIPS Agreement), an outcome of the GATT Uruguay round.

The main changes implemented in the 1994 Act resulted in:

The protection of a wider variety of works, including choreographic works and compilations of data or other material which constitutes an intellectual creation.

The extension of the period of protection for films, sound recordings and applied art protected as artistic works.

The express protection for computer programmes.

The provision of rental rights to the copyright owners of computer programmes, films, and sound recordings.

The provision of moral rights for authors and the provision of performers rights.

The decriminalisation of parallel importing.

The implementation of border enforcement measures regarding pirated copies.

The strengthening of criminal penalties for commercial copyright piracy in order to provide credible deterrents.
The effect of these changes has been to provide stronger copyright protection.

It is too early to tell whether the changes implemented in the 1994 Act have had a significant impact on the copyright based industries. I await the Council's next report with interest. This should encompass the period since the 1994 Act came into force.

The copyright area is continually changing. There have been significant changes in the commercial and technological environment in which enterprises operate since 1994. There have been rapid advances in, and consumer acceptance of, new technologies. Two advances that have created further challenges for copyright are:

The rise in the number of electronic distribution services available, such as the Internet, cable and satellite television, and mobile communications.

The rapid increase in the utilisation of digital technologies. The ability to manipulate sound and images has resulted in multi-media works which, it is argued, are a class of works requiring protection in their own right.
These technologies are significant because of their impact on business and the daily lives of New Zealanders.

They are also significant for two other reasons. They have had, and will continue to have, a profound effect on how copyright materials are distributed. They also operate across national borders. Much attention is being given to these issues in the international arena.

I want to focus on three:

the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO);
Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC); and
Taiwan.
World Intellectual Property Organisation

A major forum for intellectual property rights discussions is the World Intellectual Property Organisation. Two treaties were adopted in December 1996 under the auspices of this Organisation. These were:

the WIPO Treaty on Copyright; and
the WIPO Treaty on Performance and Phonograms.
These treaties, amongst other things, address aspects of legal protection for the first distribution of copyright works and require that moral rights are provided for performers.

While the EEC and its members have ratified the treaty, others of our trading partners are still developing their positions.

A decision has yet to be made on New Zealand's ratification of these treaties. There are two outstanding issues which need to be considered. These are:

the extension of moral rights to performers; and
the wording of those articles which provide for distribution rights and their implication for parallel importing.
New Zealand has just provided for a system of moral rights in the 1994 legislation. As this is a new system for New Zealand, more time is needed to see how it is working in practice. Any extension of this system to cover performers will also require consultation with affected parties. Therefore, it seems to me that further consideration of this matter is required.

On parallel importing, this is an issue on which I have taken a particular interest. As you will be aware, the issue of exclusive licensees wishing to protect their copyright by restricting the importation of second hand goods has been in the news lately.

One of these licensees has stated publicly that it is prepared to pursue the matter in the Courts. As I have previously announced, the Government will await the outcome of this case with close interest.

In the light of developments in the international arena, every effort must be made to ensure that New Zealand continues:

to provide an environment that encourages creativity;
to protect creative endeavor; and
to ensure that our export sector can maintain its competitiveness.
APEC

APEC is made up of 18 economies. APEC has a diverse membership of cultures and business development. APEC has recognised the importance of intellectual property rights.

These economies are working together to ensure that there are adequate systems based on the TRIPS minimum standards for intellectual property rights. More importantly, these economies are actively encouraging the enforcement of these rights.

Many, if not most, of the economies in APEC have taken significant steps to improve their copyright legislation. This is important because of the high value of goods traded between APEC members.

Telecommunications are an important part of that trade. APEC Ministers have recognised the importance of telecommunications as a basic infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region. The full economic, social and cultural potential of the telecommunications infrastructure will only be realised when content flows freely through the infrastructure.

The APEC Telecommunications Working Group was established and directed to develop specific actions and concrete outcomes for liberalisation of the telecommunications sector. A first step to achieving this goal is a seminar to be held in Wellington later this month, on 23 September. This seminar will address, amongst other things, the role of copyright in balancing protection for both users and producers of content. Adequate copyright protection will be required to encourage the free flow of copyright protected content over the telecommunications infrastructure. The need for reciprocal protection of copyright with our trading partners is important. Taiwan

One economy which is very important to New Zealand in trade terms is Taiwan. I understand there is some concern that New Zealand exports to Taiwan, especially computer software, may be inadequately protected in that territory. We are looking into this now with Taiwan. The feasibility of a bilateral arrangement which would provide for the protection of New Zealand copyright works in Taiwan and vice versa is currently being explored.

Conclusion

I have briefly touched on a wide range of areas, both domestic and international, to highlight what is in my view, a dynamic picture of copyright and its importance in trade.

Underlying the economic and trade importance is the need to encourage the creative talents that provide the content. This Government is committed to providing an environment which achieves this and ensures that creative effort is rewarded.

However, there is a need to ensure that our creative talent can understand the role of copyright and avail itself of the protection which is rightfully theirs. The Copyright Council, with its diversity of members, is to be commended for its activities in this regard.

The Council is also to be commended for continuing to bring attention to the economic importance of copyright.

I wish to, again, thank the Council for inviting me to speak tonight. I now have great pleasure in launching the Copyright Council's 1997 edition of ``Economic Importance of Copyright''. Thankyou