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US influence over copyright law undermines our democracy

2 May 2011

US influence over copyright legislation undermines our democracy

The Green Party is seeking clarification over possible US intervention in the run-up to the passing of the controversial Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act under urgency recently.

A newly released Wikileaks cable shows the US Government worked closely with Government officials to ensure draft copyright legislation was expedited and protected the interests of the US recording industry.

“The latest Wikileaks cables show how vulnerable our Government is to pressure from big businesses in the USA,” said Green Party Information and Communications Technology spokesperson, Gareth Hughes.

“Both Labour and National Governments have been subject to intense lobbying from the US. Hollywood moguls shouldn’t be writing our law!

“We’ve got to keep politics honest, so it’s important to find out exactly what influence US interests had in securing the rushed passage of controversial copyright legislation through Parliament.

A large grassroots campaign opposed the rushing of the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act through Parliament under urgency. Attention was directly focused on section 92 of the law which terminates internet access to suspected pirates and shifts the burden of guilt onto suspects until they prove themselves innocent. The Green Party were the only party to oppose this law.

“The leaked cables detail the specific interest from the US Government in section 92,” said Mr Hughes.

“Previous leaked cables detail the US recording industry’s willingness to spend up to $533,000 to fund a recording industry enforcement initiative to combat what US officials perceive as ‘key gaps in intellectual property rights enforcement’ here in New Zealand.

“This kind of blatant intervention in local law enforcement is undermining our democracy.

“The New Zealand Government has been subject to intense international corporate lobbying. As the Government consults further on the current online copyright regime, it must make decisions that work for the New Zealanders that elected them, not US interests.

“However, this Government has overtly bent over backwards to make labour law suitable to Warner Brothers. Why wouldn’t they have done the same in this case behind the scenes?”

Mr Hughes is planning to use question the Government this week to discover the extent of US involvement in drafting s92 of the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act.

Links to Wikileaks cables:
http://wikileaksch/cable/2009/04/09WELLINGTON88.html

http://wikileaks.ch/cable/2005/04/05WELLINGTON334.html


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