Parallel importing movie ban doesn't affect private users

A bill banning parallel importation of films for nine months after their release will apply to commercial distributors only, not private or domestic use.

A bill banning parallel importation of films for nine months after their release will apply to commercial distributors only, not private or domestic use.

Associate minister of commerce Judith Tizard yesterday introduced the Copyright (Parallel Importation of Films and Onus of Proof) Amendment Bill 2002 which will:

  • prohibit the parallel importation of films, including DVDs, videos and video CDs, for nine months from a title’s first international release. The ban will be implemented for five years from the date of the commencement of the bill;
  • reverse one aspect of the onus of proof so that the burden of proof is on the defendant to rebut the presumption that an imported work is infringing copyright;
  • introduce an objective knowledge requirement that requires the plaintiff to prove that the defendant “knows or ought reasonably to know” that the imported work is infringing copy;
  • protect legitimate parallel importers by proving that the court must not require the defendant to disclose information on sources of supply where it appears to the court that it would be unreasonable to do so; and
  • clarify existing provisions relating to rental rights where copyright works are parallel imported.
The bill follows a review of the impact of parallel importing on the creative industries.

Tizard says the ban is to prevent the parallel importation of films for commercial purposes. This leaves the way open for people downloading paid for movies on the internet.

“The ban does not prohibit importation for a person’s private or domestic use. Private individuals who with to import a copy of a film for their own use, ahead of the New Zealand theatrical release, will still be able to do so.”

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