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Repeal ‘guilt by accusation’ internet piracy law

Media statement
13 February 2009

Hon Peter Dunne
MP for Ohariu
Leader of UnitedFuture

Dunne: Repeal ‘guilt by accusation’ internet piracy law

The Government should repeal the Copyright Amendment Act’s ‘guilt by accusation’ clause that will see people’s internet connections cut on unproven accusations of piracy, UnitedFuture leader and Ohariu MP Peter Dunne said today.

“All of us who brought in this Act last year believed we were protecting artists from piracy and illegal downloads. However, it is now clear that we have a situation where internet users are vulnerable to the mere accusation of piracy, and that is simply neither fair nor just,” Mr Dunne said.

“In the previous Government’s haste to ram through this legislation, the then Associate Commerce Minister Judith Tizard bowed to a small group of lobbyists and reinstated Section 92A – the ‘guilt by accusation clause’ – despite the fact that it had been removed by the select committee.

“No one supports piracy, but this clause is draconian – you don’t fix one injustice by creating another. I hope this Government will review section 92A and discard it.

“While the rest of the Act has been in effect since October, Section 92A was deferred until 28 February, which has given ISPs and internet user advocacy groups time to get their heads around the impact of this law,” he said

“ISPs will have no choice but to disconnect any user accused of breaching copyright law, simply on the basis of the accusation.

“Last month the UK rejected similar laws due to ‘impracticalities and complexities’, and the European Union also rejected them saying that they were against ‘a fair balance between various fundamental rights’,” Mr Dunne said.

“I urge Justice Minister Simon Power to defer the implementation of section 92A another three to six months so this situation can be fixed.

“The reality of the law as it stands is not acceptable. I don’t believe it is good enough for the Government to turn a blind eye to such an unfair piece of legislation,” Mr Dunne said.

ENDS


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