CISAC responds to W&DW’s call to support New Zealand’s screenwriters and directors during copyright reforms

New Zealand’s audiovisual creators are in a pivotal moment with the country undergoing a review of its copyright legislation. At the request of CISAC’s Regional Office for Asia-Pacific and W&DW, CISAC’s Director General Gadi Oron visited in November to meet with the New Zealand government in addition to the Confederation’s recent submitted comments to the Copyright Act Review.

Oron was invited by Directors and Editors Guild of New Zealand (DEGNZ) to promote the interests and resolutions of DEGNZ and CISAC, particularly to obtain recognition for audiovisual creators and strengthen their legal rights.

New Zealand does not expressly recognise screenwriters and directors under the country’s existing copyright legislation. CISAC is asking for both creators to be explicitly recognised as authors of audiovisual works. These creators also currently lack a right to remuneration.

CISAC Director General Gadi Oron met with Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Kris Faafoi, who is in charge of the review, to provide the international perspective and to highlight legislative improvements for creators. Film and television director and DEGNZ President Howard Taylor and Executive Director Tui Ruwhiu joined Oron in the meetings.

The visit was followed by a Parliament reception hosted by the Minister and DEGNZ. In an address, Oron said: “Audiovisual creators are key players in the creative sector, but their protection under New Zealand’s copyright law is unclear.  In order to allow directors and screenwriters to be fairly remunerated for their work, they need to be explicitly recognised as authors of the audiovisual work.”

W&DW and its regional alliance, the Alliance of Asia-Pacific Audiovisual Writers and Directors (AAPA), drew attention to the need to resolve the issue in legislation during the 2019 CISAC General Assembly in Tokyo. The need was also underscored in October during the official launch of AAPA at the Busan International Film Festival in South Korea. The issue in New Zealand is one of AAPA and W&DW’s main priorities to improve the situation of audiovisual creators in the world.

Throughout the process, W&DW has been actively supporting both screenwriters and directors in the country to attract attention to the need to resolve the issue as part of its global Audiovisual Campaign. The creators council has supported DEGNZ in its efforts to recognise the status of creators as authors and their right to remuneration.

CISAC Director General Gadi Oron asks New Zealand to place creators at the centre of the country's review of its copyright legislation during a reception at the Parliament of New Zealand. Photo ©: CISAC