Join New Zealand Internet blackout protest against insane copyright law

, posted: 16-Feb-2009 10:26

Twitter blacked out AvatarsNo S92A

Reason didn't work and the Parliamentary process failed, which is why we in New Zealand now have arguably the world's harshest copyright enforcement law. Sections 92A and C of the amended Copyright Act establish a guilt upon accusation principle that can see anyone accused of "copyright infringement" getting his or her Internet connection severed.

Creative Freedom Foundation

What's more, under the new law, anyone who provides any form of services over the Internet is an ISP. That means libraries, councils, schools, businesses, government offices, you name it. If you share your Internet connection with your flatmates, you're probably an ISP too under the new act. Geekzone is an ISP. Think about what that means.

The Telecommunications Carriers Forum or TCF has done a great job in writing a draft code of practice that seeks to neutralise the worst aspects of the new law, but that's not enough. It has to be repealed. As Peter Dunne of United Future party points out, the EU and Britain have rejected similar laws because they're fraught with problems and impossible to enforce fairly.

Our ISPs should not have to police what their customers do on the Internet, plain and simple. The ISP Industry Association ISPANZ has been trying to drive this home for a while now, ditto InternetNZ. The reason our politicians won't listen is because they're concerned about New Zealand having signed various WIPO treaties and that the country might not get a free trade deal with the US unless the entertainment industry that vigorously lobbies the US Trade Representative gets its way. If that's the case, then we the voters should be told and not have our sovereignty being sold down the river on the sly like this. Incidentally, my understanding is that the local rights holders people are not in favour of the law, but have to toe the line laid out for them by their overseas masters. Too bad, if that's true.

I'm a "content creator" and a rights holder due to my work as a writer, but the new law won't help me one iota. It's there for the large entertainment organisations to terrorise Internet users. This is an important point to bear in mind, that the new law isn't going to help artists and others rights holders. The Creative Freedom Foundation is your source for good information on this, so make sure you vist them.

You can do something too: black out your Twitter avatar, Facebook/Myspace pages, or even websites to protest against the insane new law that will come into full force on February 28. (Yes, I'm going to hack the CSS for the blog soon to black things out :)).

Update Looks like entertainment industry isn't going to entertain the TCF code of practice, but insists that law should be harshly implemented. Tom Pullar-Strecker from the Dompost has a good story on that.

Update II Fixed broken link to Creative Freedom Foundation site, and many thanks to Stephen Fry @stephenfry for tweeting about the issue to his followers.

Update III Netguide's take on the issue. Everyone on Twitter seem to be using the #blackout hash-tag, but there's also #S92.

Update IV And I probably should put this into a new blog entry... but at Foo Camp this weekend, Matthew Holloway of the Creative Freedom Foundation pointed out that the TCF CoP only applies to telcos and ISPs. However, the law as it stands has a very wide definition of ISPs as per above, so the CoP doesn't cover libraries et al. Now that's a real worry. Thanks to Paul Brislen at Vodafone for the tip.

Update V Regan Cunliffe of Throng has hacked up some excellent banners as per above. Get them at CFF.

Other related posts:
Video: Kim Dotcom and Mathias Ortman at the IITP Mega breakfast
Two-factor authentication broken
The problem with naming and shaming

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