Copyright’s Purpose

Copyright’s Purpose

Incentive to create

It is generally accepted that one of the primary reasons for copyright is to provide an incentive for the creation and dissemination of creative works that meet our social and economic needs, including the promotion of learning and education. Society places significant value on creative and intellectual resources such as books, journals, newspapers, art works, music and films. So if creators are able to earn just reward for their efforts, this is likely to stimulate more creativity and innovation for the public benefit. In fact, research carried out by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment established that 90% of creators surveyed thought copyright was fairly important or very important and 77% sought to derive revenue from their work.

Balancing rights

No property right is absolute and there are limits on the exclusive rights granted to authors under the law. Checks and balances are built into the copyright system to ensure that the sharing of knowledge and ideas is not undermined by copyright protection. For example, the copyright system provides exceptions from copyright infringement in special cases, such as certain educational or research use. It also contemplates the operation of licensing schemes by licensing bodies to facilitate copying and use of copyright material by institutional or business users. The aim is to balance the protection of author rights with the legitimate interests of the public in having access to socially valuable works.

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