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Copyright Change Shows Property Rights Hypocris

Copyright Change Shows Property Rights Hypocrisy

Tuesday 1 Jul 2003 Stephen Franks Press Releases -- Commerce

ACT New Zealand Associate Commerce Spokesman Stephen Franks today accused the Government of trading property rights for votes, by planning to change copyright law to allow more copying without compensation.

"Lawyers Simpson-Grierson have called the Government `naïve and simplistic' - and I agree. As the lawyers claimed, `it is like saying, people want to do this, so let's allow it without taking into account the detriment to those producing the works'," Mr Franks said.

"Perhaps the Government believes artists - whom they have subsidised and fawned over - will never realise that when the recording company can't protect its copyright, they'll have less to pay the artists.

"This move goes directly against the arguments that the Government used to justify the cessation of parallel importing, and the bizarre restrictions on New Zealander's access to new release films.

"Even more striking is the contrast with its attitude to Maori property right claims. Prime Minister Helen Clark, and Treaty Negotiations Minister Margaret Wilson, first promised to ensure Maori could not claim beach and seabed property rights. This suddenly became negotiable as soon as Maori MPs reacted. Public ownership will be fudged to protect claims that have not been accepted for 100 years, and which no one has defined.

"In the case of the recording industry, the Government is going the other way. It is doing a Robin Hood with private property - or, at best, fudging the rules on theft - in order to pander to the number who think they can get something for nothing," Mr Franks said.


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