Five things New Zealand's copyright law rewrite must cover

Patching its copyright law for the digital age hasn't worked so well, and New Zealand now plans to overhaul the entire copyright regime. The trade groups used to battling this issue out among themselves now have to count on the engagement of an educated public that has become passionate about the issues at stake.

After the disastrous attempt to graft a "graduated response" Internet disconnection policy onto its existing copyright law, New Zealand's new government first pulled the plug on the idea and has now decided to rewrite the entire copyright act.

Major copyright reform tends to happen infrequently. In the US, for instance, we still operate under the framework of the 1976 Copyright Act, which was the sort of overhaul that New Zealand is now considering. Updates have come in the form of the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act and the Digital Millenium Copyright Act—both controversial and important laws that nonetheless left most of the 1976 Copyright Act untouched.