S92 redux: It's back

S92 redux: It's back

Summary: Termination of file-sharing internet users' accounts is coming up for New Zealanders — again.


After the government suspended the controversial Section S92 of the reworked New Zealand Copyright Act due to the huge public outcry, several people I spoke to warned that it won't be the last we saw of it.

To recap, the new legislation contains two controversial clauses, 92A and C. The first one requires ISPs to implement a "reasonable policy" for the termination of the accounts of customers accused of file sharing.

The second one requires ISPs to remove any content hosted by them, if it's suspected of breaching copyright. Both clauses are quite draconian, and it's fair to say they establish a guilt by accusation principle in New Zealand law even though some lawyers would split hairs here and say that only punishment is meted out and no guilt is apportioned per se.

Recently, France dumped its law that would establish an internet Gestapo monitoring French users and if they're found file sharing, it snips their internet accounts.

No other democratic country in the world, as far as I know has felt it necessary to create laws that would see internet users' accounts chopped off based on allegations, so it's disappointing to see that New Zealand is once again going down the S92A route.

S92 is being reviewed, but according to the government brief:

The scope of any legislation leading to the termination of internet accounts of repeat copyright infringers is explicit and takes into account issues of due process, practicality and enforceability; the process leading to account termination is clear to all parties concerned.

Lovely. Never mind the fact that up to a third of all copyright cases brought before the courts turn out to be dodgy. Never mind that without internet access, you're severely handicapped when it comes to accessing government services. On a practical level, what do you do with telcos like TelstraClear here, which offers bundles comprising of internet, voice and mobile? Cancel the lot, or cancel the internet access and then what?

The recent tumult in Iran has shown how important the internet is to help people disseminate information, get around censorship, organise themselves and assemble.

Now, the New Zealand Government wants to take away all that. I'm sorry, but I don't think anyone voted for that, and it's time again for the electorate to hammer that home. No termination of internet accounts.

Topics: Browser, Broadband, Legal, Telcos, New Zealand

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  • NZ copyright Law ..To be or not to be.

    What a load of hogwash. I suspect that it is only the guilty who find this law so offensive. they try to sensationalise the whole 'restriction of freedom' and 'life without the internet' cards. absolute tripe!! The world relies on the web, yes even the publishers & recording studios need the internet. If it wasn't for all the crims pirating software, music and movies, there would be no need to try and stop the stealing. I am in this industry and I know exactly how big and bad this problem is. I think that if New Zealand implements this law succesfully, it is ahead of its time by miles, and other countries will slowly follow suit. Unfortunatly because of all the 'criminal' activities it supports, it is only a matter of time before the whole internet becomes regulated. I personally do not wish to be policed, but if it is the price I have to pay to ensure dishonest folk are encouraged to be honerable and PAY REAL MONEY for goods that the rest of us hard working people do, then 'bring on the law'.
  • Let's see the facts, then

    @SanMan If you know how "big and bad" the problem is, tell us. List the bands that have gone out of business. List the actual losses directly attributable to "piracy" in NZ and provide verifiable evidence of your argument. Show us precisiely how "Big and bad" this is. You can't? Well, then why should we believe the word of one who doesn't even post under his real name?