New Zealand's controversial amendment to its Copyright Act, known as Section 92A, will be scrapped in its current form, NZ Commerce Minister Simon Power announced today.
Anti-copyright protesters in Wellington (Credit: Rory Purcell-Hewitt/ZDNet.com.au)
The amendment was due to come into force on 27 March, but its
introduction has now been suspended until it can be amended to
address the areas which had been concerning industry and
"Allowing section 92A to come into force in its current format
would not be appropriate given the level of uncertainty around its
operation," Power said in a statement. The minister said industry discussions on the code had exposed
problems with the legislation, passed by the previous
"These discussions have exposed some aspects of section 92A
which require further consideration," Power said. "While the
government remains intent on tackling this problem, the legislation
itself needs to be re-examined and reworked to address concerns
held by stakeholders and the government."
Yet the amendment was still necessary, Power said. "This
legislation was put in place to combat unlawful file-sharing which
facilitates copyright infringement on a large scale," he said.
"This behaviour is very costly to New Zealand's creative
industries and needs to be addressed."
The government would immediately begin a review to amend
the section, according to Power.
The section requires internet service providers (ISPs) to have a
policy to terminate the internet account of repeat copyright
infringers in appropriate circumstances. There had been grave
protests both online and physical about how this would be
Prime Minister John Key had already delayed the amendment in the hopes that
a voluntary code of practice might be worked out between ISPs and
copyright holders which would accompany the amendment to create
certainty on how industry players would act.
TelstraClear scuttled the talks by exiting
them, saying it didn't believe an industry code would help.
For the code to be accepted, it needed unanimous agreement from the