Electronic Transactions Bill
The bill is intended to advance the goal of facilitating the use of modern technology and to take advantage of the knowledge economy. It contains provisions intended to facilitate these types of communications by enabling electronic communications to be used, provided they are functionally equivalent to paper-based legal requirements. The bill will modify statutory requirements to use paper-based methods of communication and record keeping, allowing dealings to take place electronically. That is, provided both parties consent.
The bill is designed to provide consistency with international standards and follows the model law of electronic commerce prepared by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law. It is also closely aligned to the Australian Electronic Transactions Act 1999.
While the Bill has a number of ramifications for IP-related industries, a specific IP provision states that copyright in a work isn’t infringed by the generation of an electronic form of a document or the production of information by means of an electronic communication. This is to deal with the fact that many provisions in New Zealand legislation require a person to produce, deliver or otherwise provide a particular document, eg a birth certificate and some of them require an original to be provided. This was seen as creating a barrier to carrying out the legal transaction by electronic communication.