Legal background

Scope and duration of copyright

Does copyright end immediately after the minimum period mandated by the Berne Convention? Yes
Copyright in a literary, dramatic, musical or art work expires at the end of 50 years after the end of the calendar year. If the work is a photograph, copyright expires at the end of 50 years after the end of the calendar year. If the work is computer generated, copyright expires at the end of 50 years after the end of calendar year of authorized publication or if there is no authorized publication within 50 years after the making of the work. If the work is unknown authorship, copyright expires at the end of 50 years. Copyright in a broadcast or a cable programme expires at the end of the period of 5 years. Copyright in a typographical arrangement of a published edition expires at the end of 25 years.
CA s.22
Has a court or tribunal ever limited the exercise of IP rights under competition law, for example by imposing compulsory licensing or regulating royalties charged by dominant rights holders? In part
The terms of licensing is operated by a licensing body. A Tribunal determines the licensing for copyrights. However, such as a tribunal has not really got off the ground or being active.
Has a court or tribunal ever limited the exercise of IP rights pursuant to a bill of rights or similar human rights instrument, for example by preventing copyright from being used to stifle protected speech? In part
The Fiji’s Constitution is abrogated and therefore the right to free speech is restricted in many respects. A Public Emergency Regulation (PER) controlling free speech and critism of the Government has been lifted, however replaced by an amended Media Development Decree.
Can databases of non-original material be reproduced without infringing a copyright or sui generis database right? No
There is no legislation protecting databases.
Are rights holders prohibited from excluding user rights under copyright law? In part
No such ruling directly on copyright law.
Is computer software excluded from the scope of patentable subject matter?

Freedoms to access and use

By Home UsersIs there any general user right that is based on a set of balancing criteria, such as a "fair use" right? No
Is time, space and format shifting allowed (such as ripping music from CD to an MP3 player)? No
Not expressly provided for in the Act. The making for private use and domestic use of a recording of a broadcast or cable programme solely for the purpose of enabling the recording to be viewed or listened to at a convenient time does not infringe copyright
Can consumers reproduce copyright material for their own use in the original format, for example for backup purposes? In part
Back up copy for computer program is not infringed if the copy is made by or on behalf of the lawful user of the copy of the program.
Can works be communicated to a limited public (for example, family and friends) without infringing copyright? In part
The issue of copies of a work to the public is a restricted act in relation to every description of copyright work. The performance of a work in public is a restricted act in relation to a literary, dramatic or musical work. The playing or showing of a work in public is a restricted act in relation to a sound record audio visual work, broadcast or cable programme. The broadcasting of a work or its communication to the public is restricted act in relation to a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work; a sound recording or audio visual work, a broadcast or cable programme.
For EducationMay students copy works for private research or study? Yes
An exception that the copying of a published edition for the purposes of research or private study by an individual does not infringe copyright in either the typographical arrangement of the edition or in any literary, dramatic, or musical work or part of a work in edition. In determining whether copying is for the purposes of research or private study by an individual, the court will have regard to the (a) the purpose of the copying (b) nature of the item copied (c) whether the item could have been obtained within a reasonable time at an ordinary commercial price (d) the effect of the copying on the potential market, or value of the work and (e) where part of an item is copied – the amount and substantiality of the part copied taken relation to the whole item. Similar exemption from copyright infringement is for a school (kindger garden, primary school, an intermediate school, a secondary school and special school) and educations establishment for the purpose of research and research study) unless there is a collective licence available of which the school is or should be aware of.
CA s.42
Does any such research and study provision cover distance and online education? In part
May translations of works be made for educational purposes? No
Nothing expressly provided in the Act. The “adaptation” is defined as the translation of the work from one language to another. The adaptation is when it is recorded or in writing. This is restricted in relation to a literary, dramatic, audio visual or musical work.
May educators copy works for use in the classroom? No
A licensing scheme must be applied for by the educational establishment for the reprographic copies of a published literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work, or of the typographical arrangement of a published edition.
OnlineAre temporary or transient copies, incidental to a lawful use, excepted from copyright? Yes
Does the law exclude or limit the liability of intermediaries such as ISPs for copyright infringements carried out on their network? In part
Nothing expressly in the Act.
Is Internet access free of ISP filtering or monitoring for potential copyright-infringements? Yes
By content creatorsIs there any protection for consumers who non-commercially remix or mash up copyright works? No
Nothing expressly provided.
May computer software be reproduced or transformed for the purpose of reverse-engineering interoperable software? No
Nothing expressly provided.
Is the incidental inclusion of a work in other material permitted? In part
Incidental inclusion of work is permitted in an artistic work, a sound recording, an audio visual work, a broadcast or a cable programme. Or the issue of the public copies of an artistic work, the playing of sound recording, the showing of an audio visual work, the making of a broadcast, or the inclusion of a cable programme. However, the work is not regarded incidentally copied in another work if the musical work or as the case requires, such words of that sound recording, broadcast, or cable programme is deliberately copied. Incidental recordings for purpose of broadcast or cable programme applies where, under an assignment or licence, a person is authorized to broadcast or include a cable programme service (in literary, dramatic, musical work or an adaptation of such work, an artistic work and a sound recording or audio work).
CA s.77
Is there are copyright exception for parody or satire? Yes
By the pressIs there a copyright exception for the news of the day? Yes
Work must be accompanied by sufficient acknowledgement.
CA s.41
May copyright material be reproduced for the purposes of review and criticism? Yes
Work must be accompanied by sufficient acknowledgement.
CA s.171
May quotations be used for any purpose? In part
Act not very clear on this.
By LibrariesMay libraries copy works if they cannot reasonably be obtained commercially? In part
Copying parts of published works in relation to a literary, or musical work contained in a book by one author, not more than one copy of a short excerpt from the work. It has its conditions accompanied as well. Copying by librarians with conditions, make for supply to any person a literary, dramatic, or musical work, and any artistic work included in that work, containing an article in a periodical or a published edition that is an article in a periodical.
CA s.49
May librarians copy works for users for the purpose of research or study? In part
(as above) The librarian may make copy from a published edition, in relation to literary, dramatic or musical work contained in a book by one author. The conditions with it amongst other is that a copy supplied only to a person who satisfies the librarian that the person require is for the purpose of research or private study.
CA s.49
Are libraries allowed to make preservation or archive copies of materials in their collections? Yes
Can make copy of an item in the permanent collection of the library or archive for the purpose of preserving or replacing that item. This applies where it is not reasonably practicable to purchase a copy of item in question.
CA s.52
Can lending libraries operate without incurring public lending rights fees to copyright owners?
By disabled usersIs it permissible to copy or adapt work for the use of those with disabilities? No
Not expressly provided.
In public affairsAre laws excluded from copyright? In part
Any act as defined in the Interpretation Act Cap 7, any subsidiary legislation as defined in Interpretation Act Cap 7.
CA s.27
Are other governmental works either excluded from copyright, or routinely shared under permissive licences? In part
Any bill introduced into the House of representatives, the debates of the Parliament of Fiji, a report of a Royal Commission of Inquiry, ministerial inquiry or statutory inquiry.
CA s.27
Are the results of publicly funded research required to be published under an open access licence? No
Nothing expressly provided. Probably through Ministerial consent application.

Freedoms to share and transfer

Do copyright owners have the right to release their works to the public domain, without any limitation on how those works may be used? No
Notice given to the Copyright office.
Can public domain works be used without the need for any payment or registration of the use? Yes
Does the law make special provision for the legal use of orphaned works? No
Upon reasonable inquiry and that it is impossible to ascertain the identity.
Is parallel importation of copyright works permitted? Yes
A person who owns the copyright in any literary, dramatic or musical work of the typographical arrangement of a published edition, in a sound recording, or in an audio visual work, can by notice in writing to the Comptroller of Customs for parallel importation.
Are there national programmes or policies to promote the use, production or dissemination of openly-licensed material such as free and open source software or open educational resources? No
Consumer Council of Fiji will be looking into this issue - mainly promoting the used of open source software. Software prices in Fiji are exorbitantly high with many basic office software such as MS-Office more expensive than hardware. Example a laptop may cost $1500, but office software will cost $2000-plus
Are there national programmes or policies that specify or promote the use of open document formats? No
While there are no specific programmes or policies, the Fiji government had in October 2011 released a 'National Broad Policy' which highlights the government’s intent of optimizing economic, health, education and commercial benefits from increased connectivity, accessibility and fast and more reliable internet services becomes difficult to achieve if consumers are not given a better deal. Promotion of the use of open document formats may be a strategy to achieve these aims.

Administration and enforcement

What is the maximum penalty for copyright infringement for an individual? It is wide, by way of civil remedy and criminal remedy damages, injunction, order to seize and detain copies, criminal liability is a fine of $50,000 and to the imprisonment for 12 months. A second or subsequent offence is a fine of $100,000 and to imprisonment of 2 years. CA Part VII
What is the maximum penalty for copyright infringement for a corporation? Does not expressly list the maximum penalty and only says that every director and every person concerned in the management of the body corporate is guilty of the offence. CA Part VII
Is innocent infringement of IP treated differently by the law? Yes
CA s.223
Is the creation or distribution of devices that can circumvent technological protection measures (TPM) permitted, where such devices can be used for legal purposes? No
CA s.223
Is the use of such devices by consumers or intermediaries permitted in the legal exercise of user rights? No
Does national copyright or consumer protection law require that the effect of TPMs distributed with copyright works be disclosed to consumers? In part
Are there cases in which the availability of injunctive relief for IP infringement is limited by the law on public policy grounds?
Does the law protect a user's Internet access from being suspended for alleged copyright infringement, except after a hearing in court? Yes
Are criminal sanctions limited to cases of large-scale commercial counterfeiting? No
Are damages for copyright infringement limited to the loss sustained, rather than a pre-established or statutory damages award? Yes
Court will also consider other factors accompanying it. Liability depends on proof of the requisite knowledge (reason to believe).
Is there provision to penalise the wrongful allegation of copyright infringement? Yes
Court can make a declaration that the proceedings was unjustified or order for payment of damages for any loss suffered by the person
Is there provision to penalise the obstruction of consumers' exercise of user rights?
Does the patent system allow for pre-grant opposition?

Recent or upcoming changes

  • Fiji Government's 2012 budget and fiscal policies includes a $1 duty on blank DVDs and CDs, now in force. This was implemented in a bid to curb the high level of DVD movie piracy. Highly priced originals and restrictive access to video rental libraries is actually fuelling DVD piracy. The new duty will make it more costly for consumers who purchase blank disks for educational or personal use.

Summary of position

As a Commonwealth country, the copyright law of Fiji reflects its British heritage.  It has been adapted for local needs only to a limited extent, for example a provision allowing archiving of recordings of folk songs.  Fiji is one of a handful of countries that have prohibited the circumvention of technological protection mechanisms, despite being under no international legal obligation to do so, since Fiji has not acceded to the WIPO Copyright Treaty.

Whilst the copyright law of Fiji is not especially flexible, neither is it enforced very effectively.  There is a significant degree of piracy of CDs and DVDs, resulting in an out-of-cycle review of the country being performed by the USTR in 2009.  This is despite the fact that special anti-piracy customs provisions are included in the Copyright Act.  As in many other developing countries, the country's enforcement problems are not due to lack of will, but lack of resources.

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