Monday, February 23, 2009

New Zealand's Insane Copyright Law - Four Reasons for Concern

New Zealand's new copyright legislation is "insane". 

Sections 92 A and C of the 2008 Copyright Amendment Act work like this.  If you are accused of copyright infringement on three occasions(strikes), you automatically lose the ability to access an Internet connection.  Anyone providing Internet access are charged with enforcement. 

First, are the major enforcement issues.  ISP's are obviously in an 'appropriate' position to actually bar Internet access; they have actual and direct control.  But the new law requires "anyone providing Internet access" to police users.  Does the New Zealand government actually anticipate a library or coffee house monitoring its users? Can the government even enforce a library's enforcement? 

Secondly, the accusatory ban circumvents the judicial process entirely.  It equates an accusation of infringement, with punishment (loss of Internet access).  There is no effort to determine the validity of the accusations before access is discontinued; a third accusation of infringement is an arrest, trial and guilty verdict.

Third, the law is heavily one-sided.  Those users accused of copyright infringement will face a penalty, but those who assert false claims of infringement do not.  Why not impose the same consequences on those making these accusations?  If, say, Warner Music can make false accusations of infringement without the threat of repercussion, where is the accountability? 

And finally, the punishment does not fit the "crime".  This law effectively abrogates civil liberties on the basis of accusations alone.  The Internet is not just, as the content companies might suggest, a mechanism allowing infringement on copyright.  Access to the Internet has become so much more.

The RIGHT to access the Internet should be a liberty that governments attempt to foster, encourage and protect.  Section 92 of this piece of legislation will destroy the personal right to use the Internet, without any prudent, judicial inquiry into the nature of the accusation.  This is not only extremely dangerous prospect, but, truly"insane". 

1 comment:

ACorso said...

Thus the beauty of constitutionally created rights, not socially accepted norms, being the standard is demonstrated.

This seems like a grand deprivation of liberty due to American notions of (and subsequent outrage upon the violation of) rights to privacy, doesn't it?

Just be glad that the 1, 4, 5, 6, 9, and 14th Amendments secure your right to privacy. Without it, we wouldn't have the right to break the law and download music...