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Government has to act now on copyright

Government has to act now on copyright

Despite official advice on the importance of finding a solution to the copyright issue, the National Government today missed an opportunity to take steps in that direction when it refused leave for an Amendment Bill to the Copyright Act to be introduced.

Labour spokesperson for communications and information technology Clare Curran today sought leave to introduce a Bill to amend the Act to ensure a workable code of practice was in place with the approval of the relevant Minister before Section 92A comes into force.

“Despite indications of support from most other parties, the National Party refused leave and is now sitting on its hands on the copyright issue,” Clare Curran said.

“Ministry of Economic Development senior officials in today’s Commerce Select Committee said this was an issue of high priority and needed to be addressed quickly by the government,” she said.

Section 92A of the Copyright Act is due to come into effect on 28 Feb. More time is required for the affected parties to negotiate the issues and reach agreement on a workable code that upholds the principles copyright protects while not placing an unreasonable burden on the internet service providers.

Labour considered a variety of measures including delaying the enactment of the clause, however, only the government can do this by revisiting the date of commencement and I call on Commerce Minister Simon Power to do so urgently.

“The Copyright (Internet Service Provider Account Termination Policy) Amendment Bill creates a mechanism for developing guidelines, something not included in the existing legislation.  This Bill therefore proposed to amend section 92A to include the following clause:

“(3) A policy as required by subsection (1) must be in accordance with guidelines developed by industry groupings representing the interests of telecommunications carriers and rights holders and agreed by the responsible Minister.

“The effect of this would have ensured that the parties would have developed guidelines before the section became effective.

“I intend to submit the Bill to the ballot as a Private Member’s Bill so that these issues can be addressed.

“It is in keeping with the objective of the Act which is to ensure a robust intellectual property rights system for the continuing growth of New Zealand’s creative and innovative sectors.

“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.

“There is widespread and growing support for an education campaign around the complex issue of copyright. It’s time the government took action on this issue,” said Curran.


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