Sunday, March 01, 2009

New Zealand "rethink" of copyright law

The New Zealand government's last minute decision to suspend by order in council the coming into effect of its controversial "three strikes" or "graduated response" regime is really quite extraordinary.

Here's an editorial from a leading NZ newspaper entitled "Wise move to rethink internet law".

Here's further recent analysis, here and here.

As I noted on February 23 here:

Prime Minister John Key said today that its implementation date would be pushed back to March 27 to see if the sector can come up with a workable code of practice.

“We are hoping that by that time we will have come up with a voluntary code of practice,” said Mr Key.

If one could not be agreed then the section in question would be suspended, he said.

It will be interesting to see if the concerned parties can come up with an "agreed" voluntary code, and if they do, whether those not directly involved in the negotiations such as consumers and academics will buy into it.

Whatever happens is bound to be an instructive lesson for the UK, EC and Canada which are all being heavily lobbied by the same entertainment industry forces to enact excessive and unwise copyright protection that threatens innovation, citizens' right of freedom of expression and even basic access to the indispensable internet.

Such legislative "reforms" will no longer escape scrutiny or political consequences.

There are many reasons for Canada's slowness and deliberation in updating its copyright law - and not all of them are "deliberate." For whatever reason, we are starting to look wiser and wiser as other countries founder and backtrack and the former lead US government proponent of the entertainment industry approach, Bruce Lehman, recants his once strongly held views. Other renowned American experts, such a Bill Patry, also decry the pressures being brought on Canada by the USA through its corporate driven "Orwellian attempt" to inovke "the false use of piracy as a stalking horse for the DMCA."

There are many reasons to update Canada's copyright law. However, false alarms and guaranteed to fail solutions disingenuously advocated by special interest corporate lobbyists in the name of "artists" should not be among those reasons.

PS - the rather revealing comments of the former responsible NZ Minister and former Member of Parliament, Judith Tizard "architect of section 92a of the Copyright Act", on this unfolding fiasco can be seen here. The political lesson here reminds one somewhat of the one that can be learned from the former political career the former Canadian M.P. for Parkdale and former potential cabinet minister, Sarmite Bulte.


1 comment:

  1. Frightening that proposals such as that in NZ are being taken seriously.

    What mandate does the entertainment industry have for deciding who will be permitted internet access? It's the power of lobbyists in action.

    The investigative methods of the cartels and their contractors are questionable at best, and one wonders what recourse the unfairly disconnected will have to overturn these unilateral decisions.