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Internet Blackout vs Guilt Upon Accusation laws

MEDIA RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday 17 February, 2009

CFF announce Internet Blackout against Guilt Upon Accusation laws


Today the Creative Freedom Foundation announce a nation-wide Internet Blackout Campaign against Guilt Upon Accusation laws in NZ. The blackout, taking place from 16-23 February, is a reaction to Section 92A of the Copyright Amendment Act, due to come into effect in NZ on February 28 unless the Government suspends or repeals the law.

The controversial law reverses New Zealander's fundamental right to being presumed innocent until proven guilty, punishing internet users with disconnection based accusations of copyright infringement without a trial and without evidence held up to court scrutiny.

The blackout has already drawn international support: world renowned actor, comedian and author Stephen Fry has blacked out his twitter profile stating that "Stephen Fry is blacked out: Stand up against Guilt Upon Accusation for New Zealand"

The movement is rapidly growing, with thousands of people in New Zealand modifying their websites, blogs, FaceBook, MySpace, Twitter and Bebo accounts to show their opposition to the law. Instructions on how to take part in the blackout can be found on www.CreativeFreedom.org.nz

The blackout is part of a week of action against S92. A S92 song remix challenge will be announced tomorrow, and various other initiatives including video commercials and radio broadcasts will follow.

The week will culminate in a major web blackout on Monday the 23rd seeing blogs and websites "dimming the lights" as a means of drawing attention to the issue that could leave New Zealander's in the dark when they face having their internet cut off. Hundreds of confirmed participants include Kiwiblog, Zoomin and Public Address with more to be announced over the coming week.

Creative Freedom Foundation Director Bronwyn Holloway-Smith says "If the government choses to keep this law, they will be going against international trends, treating NZ as an international lab-rat for this kind of legislation". Similar legislation has recently been proposed and rejected in other countries: Germany said Section 92A-like laws were 'unfit for Germany, unfit for Europe'. The UK rejected them due to "impracticalities and complexities" and the EU rejected them saying they were against "a fair balance between various fundamental rights".

But its not all gloom: one popular solution to the problem of illegal downloading is a Copyright Court. Operating similarly to the Disputes Tribunal, this would be a fast and cost-effective way of resolving disputes while preserving public justice and therefore public respect for copyright.

Over 5600 people, including over 2700 artists, have signed the Creative Freedom Foundation's petition against Guilt Upon Accusation laws in NZ. The petition can be signed by artists and the wider public at http://CreativeFreedom.org.nz


ENDS


ABOUT THE CREATIVE FREEDOM FOUNDATION

The Creative Freedom Foundation was founded in 2008 by artists and technologists Bronwyn Holloway-Smith and Matthew Holloway in response to changes in copyright law and the effect these changes are having on creativity, the economy, and public rights. The CFF represent thousands of New Zealand artists including musicians, film makers, visual artists, designers, writers, & performers.

The Foundation's primary goals are:

• The education of New Zealand artists about emerging issues within New Zealand that have the potential to influence their collective creativity

• Advocacy to ensure that their views are taken into consideration, and

• The promotion and encouragement of activities that support and build the New Zealand arts community, positive relationships within that community and/or the positive wellbeing of that community.

The Creative Freedom Foundation views the internet as an opportunity for artists in New Zealand, not a threat and, through their goals, they seek to bring Copyright Law into the 21st Century.

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