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Govt must intervene constructively on copyright

11 March 2009 Media Statement

Government must intervene constructively on copyright

It’s time for the National Government to intervene and provide stability and certainty on copyright issues for rights holders, internet service providers, and New Zealanders who use the internet, Labour spokesperson on communications and IT Clare Curran said today.

“The decision by Telstra Clear, announced today, to pull out of the code of practice being drafted by the TCF that sets out how telcos would interpret the law leaves the government with no choice but to intervene,” she said.

“The industry was very close to a workable solution on resolving copyright disputes and Telstra Clear, for whatever reason, has essentially scuttled this process.

“I call on the government to step in and create a mechanism for resolving differences of opinion between rights holders and internet service providers (ISPs) over copyright.

“At the very least, the government should balance the interests of stakeholders and broker ongoing discussions with them until agreement is reached,” she said.

“The National Government cannot allow this setback to be an excuse to scrap the law. That is not the solution.

“Two weeks ago I sought leave to introduce a Bill to amend the Copyright 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 instead decided to delay the introduction of Section 92A for a month.

“This approach clearly hasn’t worked.

“I have submitted 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.

“I applaud the work done by the Telecommunications Carriers Forum (TCF) working party to develop a code of practice. I am concerned that Telstra Clear did not stick to its original intention of allowing the process to develop a code of practice to take its course.

“Labour is currently facilitating discussions and debate with a range of stakeholders about the wider issues of copyright in the digital age,” Clare Curran said.

“Labour is firmly committed to upholding the principles of protection of copyright while not placing an onerous burden on internet service providers. Labour also recognises the complexities of protecting copyright in a fast changing digital age where much of our creative and innovative work is performed on the internet.”


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