New Zealand’s copyright laws were updated on 1 September 2011 with the introduction of the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act 2011.
The new Act ‘provides rights owners with a special regime for taking enforcement action against people who infringe copyright through file sharing’.
Some people might be worried they’re breaking the law by watching or downloading movies or audio from sites like YouTube, or using other websites to watch streaming TV shows or movies. Here’s some helpful advice from Netsafe:*
The new law only covers peer-to-peer file sharing and YouTube seems to fall outside of the Act.
However, the existing Copyright Act 1994 has always given the creator of a work ownership rights over who can use their works and how they can be used. This Act can still be used to take action on other forms of copyright infringement in New Zealand.
Downloading videos from YouTube (as opposed to just watching online) has always been a breach of the site’s Terms of Service. New Zealand users should be aware of penalties in the US and action taken to protect copyrighted material uploaded and hosted on the video streaming site.
In short, if you’re downloading videos from YouTube you may very well be breaking copyright law in NZ or the US. That’s unless the site provides a ‘download link’ or its content is freely available under a Creative Commons licence that permits copying/reuse.
Copyright remains a complex area. It is safest to respect international copyright laws, only access and download content you believe the creator is willing and has the rights to share with you (in both paid and free formats), and make yourself aware of terms and conditions of use for any websites where you find popular content.
* NetSafe is an independent non-profit organisation that promotes confident, safe, and responsible use of online technologies. Go to www.netsafe.org.nz
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