In 2008 New Zealand’s Ministry of Economic Development conducted an inquiry to determine the need for parody and satire exceptions to NZ Copyright Law. The Creative Freedom Foundation requested an OIA report on the review, and here’s what we received (PDF, 4.2MB). A public discussion document was ear-marked to be released in December 2008, however a change of government stopped the review due to it not being considered a priority and to date there has been no further activity.
The impetus for the review was noted as: “developments in digital content distribution and the need to ensure clarity to copyright users, rights-holders and internet service providers as to what constitutes copyright infringing material…the Copyright Act 1994 is currently silent on the issue of parody and satire.”
The inquiry was begun under former Labour MP and Associate Minister of Commerce Hon Judith Tizard but under the new National government passed from Minister of Economic Development Hon Gerry Brownlee to Minister of Commerce Hon Simon Power who halted the review.
Australia implemented an exception to copyright for the purpose of parody or satire as part of it’s 2006 Copyright Amendment Bill and many other international countries have similar kinds of copyright exceptions including the US, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, and Germany. The UK and Canada are currently considering similar exceptions as part of their broader copyright reforms.
Considering NZ has just implemented a law providing Copyright holders with a system for enforcing their rights online, now would be a great time to balance this by protecting artists making transformative works ie remix, mashup, satire, parody, pastiche, and caricature. These creative methods have been around for centuries – wouldn’t it be great if NZ recognised them and protected them in it’s law?