How will the TPP affect Intellectual property law in NZ?

14-10-tpp-map-copyThe first official TPP text release has confirmed tech sector IP concerns

Now that the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) is finally out in the open some of the details point to how the legal environment will be changing for NZ tech companies and startups. Initial readings suggest with the TPP we are getting US-style copyright terms.

InternetNZ CEO Jordan Carter said our concerns about the IP Chapter are confirmed by the final text.

“Based on our first read, the IP Chapter is the same as the version leaked last month. For New Zealand, this means longer copyright terms and a new offence for removing digital locks on content, even where there is no copyright infringement.

“Until now, New Zealand has not criminalised people just for bypassing a TPM ‘digital lock.’ Article 18.68 of the IP chapter could change that, meaning people who tinker with technology could be made into criminals.

“New Zealand depends on innovation to overcome our small size and distance from the rest of the world. We must ensure that legitimate tinkering, which does not infringe copyright, is still allowed.”

Read the full article in Scoop here.

The TPP also requires longer copyright terms, which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has said will cost consumers $55 million a year.

“The investment chapter defines ‘intellectual property’ as an asset which could be subject to investor-state disputes. This means overseas IP owners could dictate New Zealand policy under threat of expensive lawsuits, as with the tobacco plain-packaging dispute in Australia.

“The e-commerce chapter puts limits on local data-storage laws. In other words, New Zealand might want tech companies to store sensitive customer data here, where our legal system can ensure privacy is respected. That might not be allowed under e-commerce rules.”

If you are concerned about how these laws could affect your business contact us at Queen City law. If you would like to read more about the copyright in the TPP the tppinfo.org site is usefull.

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