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Increasing value of copyright works, ideal outcome of NZ-EU FTA, says IP attorney

06 September 2022

Increasing value of copyright works, ideal outcome of NZ-EU FTA, says IP attorney

On June 30, 2022, New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade published the New Zealand-European Union Free Trade Agreement (NZ-EU FTA), following a four-year negotiation.

Under the chapter on intellectual property, the agreement extends copyright protection terms for authors, performers and producers from 50 years to 70 years.

For Joseph Bracewell, an associate at Tompkins Wake in Auckland, the ideal outcome of this development would be an increase in the value of all copyright works.

“The ideal outcome would be for the extension to increase the expected value of all copyright works, and so increase the potential income available to creatives to support and encourage their works,” Bracewell said.

“Practically, there are few works that retain significant value and continue to generate income over such a long period and the fragmented nature of most creative industries may make it hard for any creatives to use the increased term to, for example, negotiate for higher advances or payments for their works. In the longer term of course, there may be benefits to creatives and their families where their works do continue to generate royalties throughout the long tail of the copyright term,” he added.

The term extension for copyright protection will be implemented within four years of the FTA’s entry into force in New Zealand.

Bracewell said he does not expect any significant changes to the text of the agreement when it is finalized following legal revisions, translations, conclusion and the rest of the process. What he hopes for and looks forward to is the resumption of the review of the Copyright Act.

“Hopefully however, it will push the New Zealand government to restart the review of New Zealand’s Copyright Act as a whole, which began several years ago and was put on hold. Alongside the increase in protections for creators and performers, hopefully a restarted review will take a closer look at whether changes are needed around copyright for industrially-applied works, parody or satire protections and exceptions for orphan works,” Bracewell explained.

The trade deal is also set to provide artist’s resale right, within two years of the agreement’s entry into force.

Other IP-related provisions in the NZ-EU FTA include: protection of registered designs for at least 15 years, and of unregistered designs; protection of nearly 2,000 EU wines and spirits like vodka and champagne as geographical indications (GIs); as well as 163 EU foods like Asiago and Comté or Queso Manchego cheeses, also as GIs.


Espie Angelica A. de Leon



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