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Parliament at risk of fines

10 August 2011

Parliament at risk of fines

Parliament is at risk of fines or possibly even having its internet disconnected due to the Government’s new file-sharing law which comes into force tomorrow, the Green Party said today.

“There doesn’t seem to be a plan for Parliament to deal with the new copyright law,” Green Party ICT spokesperson Gareth Hughes said.

“This law could bring the gears of government to a grinding halt because the holder of the account — Parliamentary Services — provides internet access to hundreds of users anyone of whom could cause infringement notices to be sent.”

The Speaker today refused to comment in the House about the implications of the new law.

Mr Hughes had written to the Speaker to clarify the issue.

The Government’s new file-sharing law comes into force on 1 September. A clause in the law means internet users will be under scrutiny from tomorrow, August 11.

“Like Parliament, schools, libraries and universities run the risk of fines or disconnection. Unitec in Auckland has even said they might cease providing internet services for students due to possible copyright liability,” said Mr Hughes.

“The Government has a responsibility to ensure that public institutions can navigate around the new law and not run the risk of fines or disconnection.

“By not providing information or advice and relying on InternetNZ, Internet Service Providers, and the media, Mr Power has left schools and universities in a legal grey area.”

The Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act was passed through Parliament under urgency earlier this year. Only the Green Party opposed the passage of the law.

Read Gareth’s letter to the Speaker here.

ENDS

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