Right now in New Zealand there is an uproar about a new piece of legislation due to be enacted very soon. Depending on your definition, section 92 of the Copyright (New Technologies) Amendment Act 2008 (now there’s a mouth full!) calls for internet disconnection based on accusations of copyright infringement without a trial and without any evidence held up to court scrutiny.

In an excellent example of “power to the people” a bunch of concerned citizens have launched the Creative Freedom Foundation which aims to bring widespread awareness to the issue.

This week the cause was given a huge boost when Stephen Fry, he of the 200k Twitter followers, joined in the campaign and blacked out his Twitter avatar as part of the “blackout”campaign.

Now there are two sides to every story and I’d urge anyone with an interest in both Intellectual Property and freedom of creativity to find out more and decide for themselves on the dangers of this act. As an into, s92A is reproduced below;

92A Internet service provider must have policy for terminating accounts of repeat infringers
  • “(1) An Internet service provider must adopt and reasonably implement a policy that provides for termination, in appropriate circumstances, of the account with that Internet service provider of a repeat infringer.

    “(2) In subsection (1), repeat infringer means a person who repeatedly infringes the copyright in a work by using 1 or more of the Internet services of the Internet service provider to do a restricted act without the consent of the copyright owner.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

2 Comments
  • Hi Ben,

    One thing about the law is that it has words like “reasonable” and “appropriate” but unfortunately there are some subtle and not so subtle implications of the wording of the law.

    As ISPs transmit data across their own network (for their users) they’re open to copyright infringement claims themselves unless they comply with Section 92A. ISPs are therefore put into the role of policing copyright infringement accusations without judicial oversight against their customers, at business risk if they get it wrong (from employment law to the accuser saying that a policy isn’t “reasonable”). It’s in this impossible situation and this poorly thought out law that bypasses the courts that ISPs are saying they will be forced to disconnect customers. When you bypass the courts and due process in favour of a free market of risk-averse ISPs the nature of section 92 becomes more clear.

    There’s more about the wording of this law here:

    http://creativefreedom.org.nz/forum/topic.php?id=6

    If you do agree that this law is wrong and think that people might get the wrong idea from reading an explained quote from the law then perhaps you could add some analysis to it? Anyway, just a suggestion.

    Thanks!

  • Actually these two writeups are good,

    http://www.nzcpr.com/guest133.htm
    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2009/02/why_is_national_taking_the_heat_for_a_problem_they_did_not_cause.html

    Ben, this kind of analysis reveals that the implications of this law are quite subtle. Please consider helping people understand this because it isn’t obvious when just reading the law.

    Thanks,

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