The Record Industry Assn. of New Zealand (RIANZ) is objecting to government plans to change the country's Copyright Law. The disputed changes would allow consumers to duplicate audio files for persona

The Record Industry Assn. of New Zealand (RIANZ) is objecting to government plans to change the country's Copyright Law. The disputed changes would allow consumers to duplicate audio files for personal use by mid-2004.

The move, recommended by the government's Economic Development Ministry, would allow for owners of legitimately obtained CDs to make a single copy for personal use, similar to those freedoms enjoyed by North American consumers. The United Kingdom and Australia do not have such provisions.

The New Zealand Cabinet has agreed in principle to the change in law, but will wait for the outcome of select committees hearings. The government has emphasized that duplicating a CD for a third party, or from a CD not purchased legitimately, would still be outlawed.

By introducing a right to home copying, record company executives Down Under are concerned that it could send the wrong message to consumers, who are currently banned from making any copies. Others predict it could open the door to unregulated "copycat kiosks".

More blank CDs are sold in New Zealand than pre-recorded discs, according to the trade body. RIANZ claims that up to 10 million CDs are pirated locally each year.

Furthermore, RIANZ is pondering whether to take civil action against a man who was accused of copying up to 70 CDs to his laptop in a public library in the city of Wellington. Police decided against prosecuting the unidentified man when he convinced them that he was copying the discs for personal consumption only.