The Advertising and Illustrative Photographers Association (AIPA) fully supports Minister Judith Tizard's Copyright Amendment Bill which seeks to repeal Section 21(3) of the New Zealand Copyright Act (also known as the Commissioning Rule).
The removal of this outdated and unnecessary piece of legislation will be of significant benefit to the entire creative sector. It will bring the New Zealand copyright act further in line with international convention and the copyright laws of our major trading partners.
At present the Commissioning Rule causes confusion and uncertainty for copyright commissioners and creators alike, as it selectively penalises certain types of copyright authors (such as photographers and other visual artists) for no logical reason. This amendment will therefore help clarify and simplify the current copyright law.
As has been shown in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia (where similar legislation has been repealed in 1976, 1988, and 1998 respectively) the amendment will result in a far more balanced and fair commissioning environment. This in turn will encourage more of our top photographers to stay in New Zealand, rather than head overseas to live and work in countries where their intellectual property rights are respected.
Furthermore, the repeal of the Commissioning Rule will result in more intellectual property being kept in New Zealand, under the ownership of New Zealanders, and for the financial and cultural benefit of our nation as a whole.
For many years New Zealand professional photographers have been calling for equality. Regardless of whether an individual is a writer or an illustrator, a musician or a designer, an architect or a photographer, all creators deserve to be treated equally under law. We believe this is a basic human right. Finally, with the repeal of the Commissioning Rule, the Government will make this basic right a reality in New Zealand.