Three-strikes law may catch govt buffoons

Three-strikes law may catch govt buffoons

Summary: Those buffoons in the New Zealand Government might end up getting their just desserts. It turns out that the long-awaited Copyright (File Sharing) Infringement Act could cost New Zealand politicians their own internet access!

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Those buffoons in the New Zealand Government might end up getting their just desserts. It turns out that the long-awaited Copyright (File Sharing) Infringement Act could cost New Zealand politicians their own internet access!

You may recall that earlier this year, the New Zealand Parliament passed its controversial "three strikes" legislation after years of tortuous debate.

Copyright holders gained the right to issue warning notices to internet service providers (ISPs) and, after three offences, take a claim to the Copyright Tribunal, which can issue a fine of up to NZ$15,000. The Bill also includes the power for a district court to suspend an internet account for up to six months.

The final approval of the law came under urgency, as parliament was busy dealing with the Christchurch earthquake.

Cynics may say that the government passed the act so quickly because it is beholden to big Hollywood and other copyright holders, although maybe they had other, more pressing issues.

Perhaps the politicians had also got so bored with the subject that they just wanted it over and done with. It had dragged on for so long.

The Copyright (Filesharing Infringement) Act officially comes into effect from 1 September, but as copyright holders can complain about infringements over the 21 preceding days, it effectively means that the law came into effect yesterday.

But there are still some murky aspects of the law, such as who is actually responsible for downloading, and who is the "guilty party" where access is somewhat open or shared.

We have been told that Wi-Fi access in cafes is safe, since a cafe could be classed as an ISP rather than an "account holder".

However, universities fear that the law will make them responsible for what their students download, meaning that they risk having their internet cut off.

And now we hear that parliament itself could be at risk if MPs or their staffers download copyrighted stuff unlawfully.

Indeed, there are "pirates" testing the law already by using a government network to share Miley Cyrus movies!

I guess we can only wait and see what mayhem, if any, ensues, especially as Power says the government plans no change to the legislation — though it will be reviewed in 2013.

In any case, if politicians do end up having their internet cut off for their follies, I guess we can all enjoy a right good laugh!

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

Darren Greenwood

About Darren Greenwood

Darren Greenwood has been in journalism, not all of it IT, since the days of typewriters and long before the web spun its way around the world.

Coming from Yorkshire, he can be blunt, and though having resided in New Zealand, as well as Australia, for quite some time, he insists he is not one of the 'sheeple!'

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2 comments
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  • Classic!
    Yoda7
  • Universities and governments would probably also be protected as "ISPs". Seeing as students and teachers at universities, and politicians, should and would have their own user accounts, most likely their own laptops, and importantly a way of keeping track of who has logged on to what computer (DNS, DHCP and directory services), and keeping track of what sites were visited and maybe even more (DNS and router information), it would be hard to say that a user can't get caught, and have his or her own user account restricted to certain sites (certainly, students can have access to learning material, and other information. Politicians? Well, I don't know, but certainly whatever is relevant to their work and nothing else).
    dmh_paul