Copyright protection overseas
Copyright is fundamentally different from other types of intellectual property (IP) protection because it exists the moment an original work is created. However, how your New Zealand copyright is treated overseas depends on the territories you export to and the strength of their commitment to international standards.
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Copyright is internationally accepted to be the exclusive right to use or authorise others to use an original piece of work.
If you hold the copyright on an original work in an export market, it means you can regulate its:
- public performance
New Zealand participates in various international copyright agreements and treaties. This means that when your original work is created in New Zealand, it is automatically protected here and under the copyright laws in countries that are party to those agreements.
Original works created in other member countries are also protected in New Zealand under these international agreements.
The international copyright agreements New Zealand participates in include:
- The Agreement on the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (the TRIPS Agreement) – Annex 1C to the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in1994.
- The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works 1928 (Rome Act revision).
- The Universal Copyright Convention 1952.
- The Geneva Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms Against Unauthorized Duplication of Their Phonograms 1971 (articles 1–21 of which are also incorporated in the TRIPS Agreement).
For more information on international copyright treaties, see the World Intellectual Property Organisation.
If you’re considering exporting an original work overseas, consult a registered intellectual property lawyer with experience in the territories you’re investigating.
You can also research different markets through various national intellectual property offices, which are the equivalent to IPONZ in New Zealand.