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Intellectual property challenges threaten economy

Economy faces threat from challenge to intellectual property

New Zealand’s economic development faces a serious threat from a new Internet Service Provider tactic that could see intellectual property lose protection, Progressive MP Matt Robson says.

The Internet community has been buzzing this week following the exposure of a change to the terms of service of New Zealand’s largest Internet Service Provider, the Telecom-owned Xtra.

Xtra covertly changed its terms of service to assert the ownership of any intellectual property passing through its servers.

“Any idea, design or creativity hosted on a website by Telecom, or passing through an Xtra email account, can be claimed by Telecom. It is the same as the Post Office saying that it can take ownership of any ideas sent through the mail,” Matt Robson said

“This has major implications for New Zealand’s economic development. It has major implications for hopes of developing high-value, high-skill jobs.

“No one is likely to develop intellectual property in New Zealand if their idea can be appropriated just because they email it or post it to the web.

“If these terms of service are duplicated by other providers and someone actually tries to appropriate intellectual property, there will be very serious potential consequences.

“The rule of law and the protection of property rights is one of the fundamentals of economic development. This new tactic threatens the loss of legal protection for very valuable property.

“Legislative protection may be needed to resolve this issue,” Matt Robson said.

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