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Dispatches from the Copyright Wars

Posted on May 1, 2011

Call for submissions on regulations for new copyright law

The Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Bill has been passed and now the Ministry of Economic Development has to develop the detailed regulations that will define the processes described within the Bill. They have asked for submissions and have released a discussion document (link currently not working due to failure on MED site).

The main topics are:

  • The procedures around rights owners sending notices to IPAPs (internet service providers), IPAPs sending them on to account holders, and account holders challenging the notices.
  • The method that the Copyright Tribunal will use to calculate penalties.
  • The fees charged by IPAPs (ISPs) to the rights owners for handling the notices.

The following points are of note:

  • The draft list of requirements for a notice includes proof that the complainant does hold the copyright for the work being copied. The complainant must also have a New Zealand address for service.
  • The Ministry favours leaving the Copyright Tribunal to set the penalties with minimal guidance.
  • The discussion paper says that ISPs making submissions should work out their costs as if they were processing 5000 notices per month. Each!

We'll be doing a submission aimed at making this inherently flawed law work as fairly as possible.

Wikileaked US cables about s92A and TPP

Idiot Savant at No Right Turn has been keeping an eye on the flood of documents coming from Wikileaks and brought our attention to two of them:

From April 2009, this cable (09WELLINGTON88) is a general backgrounder on the events around the rise and fall of section 92A of the Copyright Act. The US bias towards the rights owners is clear and the cable makes it clear that the US government would be pressuring the NZ government to hurry in the redrafting of the law - and even offers to help. The following quote will worry anyone who has been following IP issues in the US:

U.S. agencies have the benefit of 10 years worth of experience in enforcing the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act that may serve useful to New Zealand officials in their effort to implement section 92A.

From February 2010, this cable about TPP (10WELLINGTON65) is amusing because the MFAT officials are telling the US that the perception in New Zealand that a free trade agreement with the US will lead to be a big increase in trade is over-hyped. The officials also admit that intellectual property (copyright, trademarks, patents) and pharmaceuticals will be contentious issues in NZ.

Posted by Thomas Beagle

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  1. The Peruvian congress has just enacted legislation declaring Internet access a fundamental right (http://elcomercio.pe/peru/749846/noticia-congreso-declara-como-derecho-fundamental-acceso-internet_1). Maybe New Zealand should start taking lessons in democracy from Peru instead of the USA.


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