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Labour supports constructive solution on copyright

18 February 2009 Media Statement

Labour supports constructive solution on copyright

Labour spokesperson for Communications and Information Technology Clare Curran is calling on the Government to be proactive to facilitate agreement on a draft code of practice between internet service providers and copyright holders.

Clare Curran said today that Labour was prepared to work with the National Government and other parties to support the internet service providers and rights holders reach a satisfactory code of practice to protect copyright.

She said Section 92A aims to protect artists from piracy and illegal downloading by requiring ISPs to police illegal downloading and having a policy for terminating accounts of repeat offenders

“It says ISPs will have to "reasonably implement" a policy to disconnect "in appropriate circumstances" the internet services of users who have repeatedly downloaded or uploaded infringing music, movies, games or other copyright material.

“ISPs will be required to act on accusations that a user is illegally accessing copyright material.

“It was hoped that in the lengthy period between the passage of the Bill and the enactment date that ISPs would develop policies, which would clarify how the provision would operate in practice,” she said.

“This has not been successful. While a draft code of practice for the industry is being developed in consultation with copyright holders and ISPs there are some significant sticking points.”

Ms Curran said that the government needs to work actively with the affected parties so that agreement can be reached on a workable code that upholds the principles of protection of copyright and does not place an onerous burden on the internet service providers.

“The wider issue of the future of copyright law in a digital age is complex and fast changing. In order for the Section 92A to be effective, a workable code of practice between the rights holders and the internet service providers must be achieved in order to ensure a robust intellectual property rights system for the continuing growth of New Zealand’s creative and innovative sectors.

“Labour supports a workable code of practice to protect copyright and also support an education campaign to raise public awareness and understanding of the importance of copyright and the meaning of the copyright laws,” she said.

ENDS

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