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ACTA Submissions 2010

Posted on May 6, 2010

The Ministry of Economic Development recently asked for submissions on the topic of digital enforcement in the ACTA treaty. We submitted a submission, as did 33 other organisations and individuals.

We requested copies of them under the Official Information Act; here they are in PDF format (we'll do another post with the earlier submissions):

Notes

We haven't done an extensive analysis, but here some things we noted:

  • Sam Stockwell accidentally wrote "I would support people illegally selling stolen material for profit". Queried by MED, he quickly clarified it to say he meant the opposite.
  • NZ FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft) recommends using the USA's DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) as an appropriate baseline for issues of secondary (ISP) liability.
  • NZ FACT supports the idea that a court order is the appropriate method for a rights holder to be able to get user information from an ISP.
  • Trademe points out that they make efforts to avoid hosting content and products that infringe copyrights, but worry that they can't catch everything and aren't sure whether ACTA as currently drafted would give them safe harbour protection from liability.
  • Oxfam calls for patents to be excluded, worries that ACTA will limit access to affordable medicines.
  • RIANZ (Recording Industry Association of NZ) acknowledges that a court order is the appropriate way for a rights holder to be able to get user information from an ISP.
  • The Royal NZ Foundation of the Blind wants ACTA to allow people to circumvent TPMs to exercise permitted use of protected content.
  • Chris Slane, cartoonist, wants to be able to use copyrighted works and trademarks for the purpose of review and satire.
  • Norbort Bollow, Google and BASCAP made the only submissions that were obviously from overseas.
  • Google doesn't think that ACTA should include secondary liability or, if it does, the safe harbour provisions should be robust. They also recommend penalties for false claims.
  • John Cranfield is claiming that infringement doesn't happen when people share data files, but occurs when people use a player to convert that data to audio/video. Therefore he says the correct answer is to regulate operating systems and digital media players.
  • Telecom is concerned that ACTA may impose additional costs on ISPs and does not want have to decide whether users are infringing or not.
  • Overall, and admitting that the sorting was rather crude, there were 30 submissions against ACTA and 4 submissions in favour.

About Thomas Beagle

Co-founder and spokesperson for Tech Liberty
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  1. One of the most concerning submissions is that of NZFACT re TPMs. Most now accept that TPMs are counter-productive at best but at least NZ’s enactment of TPM rules in 2008 exhibited a balanced approach if one was going to have them. In particular, it explicitly provided that permitted fair dealing could not be overridden by TPMs and instituted a TPM cracking regime where that was necessary to preserve those rights. It also specifically outlawed the use of TPMs for access or zone control and criminalised only import and commercial distribution rather than mere private possession.

    NZFACT would have ACTA overturn this principled approach. They want to continue to (mis)use copyright, not to protect or enhance creativity, but to obtain monopoly profits by controlling distribution channels. They seem to see TPMs as a way to ensure that they can continue with an artificial, zone controlled, world of their making, not realising that such barriers are exactly what the internet was designed to route around.

    As New Zealand rightly concluded in 2008 after more than 5 years of debate, copyright is not the appropriate vehicle to preserve such outdated business models.

  2. Thanks for posting these. FYI, the RNZFB submission is also available in html on our website: http://www.rnzfb.org.nz/lobbying/submissions/2010/acta


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