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.
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
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Holloway said he was hopeful that S92A would be repealed.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
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
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
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.