NZ copyright protest blockades parliament

NZ copyright protest blockades parliament

Summary: Some 120 protesters descended upon New Zealand's Parliament today in Wellington to deliver petitions expressing concern over sections of the new Copyright Act which will force ISPs to disconnect customers who have allegedly infringed copyright.

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update The fight over the controversial amendments to New Zealand's copyright law is heating up.

Anti-copyright protesters in Wellington
(Credit: Rory Purcell-Hewitt/ZDNet.com.au)

Today at noon, some 120 protesters descended upon the parliament in the capital, Wellington, and handed over an e-petition against the amendments with over 12,000 signatories, and a traditional one with 148 names, to the United Future party leader Peter Dunne.

Section 92A which will force ISPs to disconnect customers who have allegedly infringed copyright. The demonstrators were waving black placards reading "ISPs are not a court" and "Fair go, not Fear go".

Organisers Bronwyn and Matthew Holloway of the Creative Freedom Foundation said they weren't disappointed with the response. As well as the petition to Dunne, the Holloways handed a CD of their The Copywrong Song to all 122 Members of Parliament.

Half of the signatories to the online petition were artists, Matthew Holloway said. Also, he claimed that the CFF now had over 6,000 artists against Section 92A, making it larger than the Australasian Performing Rights Association (APRA) in NZ.

Holloway said he was hopeful that S92A would be repealed. CFF will continue to campaign for this, with an internet blackout (design protest) coming up for many popular websites in New Zealand next Monday.

Hoping that the issue will move into the general interest area, and not be seen as a strictly technical or legal one, Holloway was keen to point out that it affects anyone connected to the internet.

Mauricio Freitas, proprietor of large NZ tech site Geekzone, also took part in the demonstration. He said: "I'm against copyright infringement and believe we need a law to curb it." However, Freitas said the new law didn't provide those accused with a "due course of action" in case the allegations are incorrect.

Furthermore, Freitas expressed concern about the implementation of the law from a content provider's perspective. "It's really unclear how it'll affect us and if it does, how to enforce it," he said.

In a further development, the opposition communications and information technology spokesperson, Clare Curran, sought leave in parliament to introduce a Bill to amend the Copyright Act to ensure that a workable code of practice was in place before the contentious Section 92A comes into force. The code would have to be approved by the relevant minister as well.

Presently, Section 92A looks set to come into effect on 28 February, but the ISP and telco industry organisation Telecommunications Carriers Forum (TCF) doesn't yet have a code of practice ready for its members, as rights holders have rejected parts of the draft version, relating to the need for evidence that'll hold up in court and cost recovery for providers.

The governing National Party refused leave for Curran's Bill however, and she will now submit her Bill as a Private Member's submission. Curran criticised National for "sitting on its hands on the copyright issue," even though it was her party, Labour, that introduced the controversial amendments to the Bill.

Topics: Government, Government AU, Legal, Telcos, New Zealand

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9 comments
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  • Love democracy...

    So. Of the thousands of internet users in Wellington only 120 voted with their feet against the law! (and by the look of the placards they didn't have much to say anyway)

    I'd say that's a minority - the law (rightly) stands!

    McD
    anonymous
  • RE: Love democracy

    You seem to forget that of those supposed thousands of internet users in wellington, most have jobs they can't just leave to go protest. The IT people who understand the legislation and its implications are busy running your work networks and desktop computers. Pretty sure people would be hitting the roof if all the techs went off to protest and the systems fell to pieces. So before you start outright dismissing those 120, how about you look at that 12000.
    anonymous
  • A free ride..

    Interesting to note that the rights holders have asked for the removel of two key parts of the code of practice relating to the need for evidence that'll hold up in court and cost recovery for providers.
    Looks like
    1) Disconnect because we say so, and we don't have to provide a valid reason and
    2) We don't care what it will cost you to do it, we won't be paying a cent for it.
    It's our absolute right to run roughshod over your (soon to be ex-) customers and you should just be grateful to us that you are doing our bidding.
    anonymous
  • What?

    12,000 eh? So 5% of Wellington's population are IT people? The law is for normal people not just IT people and actually the blog entries clearly show they don't understand the laws at all - that would be the legal people & the normal people.

    You're right about the networks & systems though - we really should move to something less flakey.

    McD
    anonymous
  • Maybe...

    Or perhaps; you're aiding copyright theft - get your house in order!

    McD
    anonymous
  • huh..

    I'm with mcdave... the sooner we get rid of the need for evidence in the justice system the sooner we can get back to mob lynchings and trial by fire.
    anonymous
  • Nice one!..

    ...except this has nothing to do with the justice system. ISPs are being brought to task after years of capitalising on crime and being encouraged to walk away from bad business. If consumers want to contest their treatment, they're more than welcome - though I don't think many will.

    McD
    anonymous
  • Lawyers

    So it should be legal to confiscate the tools of my trade if I'm accused of copyright theft?

    Perhaps we should disbar all lawyers who are accused of plagiarism.
    anonymous
  • justice?

    "...rights holders have rejected parts of the draft version, relating to the need for evidence that'll hold up in court ...."

    Looks like it has everything to do with the justice system to me...

    An equivalent example of this from the 'real world' would be if I went to the police and said I saw mcdave doing burnouts and generally being a hoon, and without any evidence they come and confiscate your car. Would you be happy to 'contest your treatment' after the fact?
    anonymous