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Copyright Code submissions back repeal of 92A

Copyright Code submissions back repeal of 92A

Media Release
19 March 2009

InternetNZ has reviewed the 50-odd submissions on the Telecommunications Carriers’ Forum Internet Code of Practice and finds overwhelming support for repeal of Section 92A of the Copyright Act.

Executive Director Keith Davidson says “The depth of analysis and the volume and quality of the submissions shows that the fight against 92A is not, as has been suggested by certain people, an hysterical response or something being hyped up by naive or ignorant people.”

“There are well reasoned legal and technical arguments confirming that 92A is poorly drafted law and should be repealed. The Code produced by the TCF Working Party is a valiant attempt to make the best of a bad situation but cannot overcome the problems created by the faulty legislation. In particular, feedback in the submissions highlights serious reservations within the legal fraternity.”

Further, InternetNZ reiterates that cutting off people’s Internet is a disproportionate response to issues of copyright infringement and that the approach is discredited worldwide.

“Section 92A should never have been brought in by the previous Government, and this Government should not hesitate to repeal it,” says Davidson.

InternetNZ, like many other stakeholders and concerned groups and citizens, is ready to enter further consultation on appropriate legislation in respect to copyright and dealing with repeat copyright infringement.

“We support a first principles review of the Copyright Act to take account of the digital age, with full public and stakeholder consultation,” says Davidson.

Here are selected quotes from the submissions, which can be found at: http://www.tcf.org.nz/content/d543212c-ab29-42dc-8fa5-de14710785f6.html

On the broad definition of ISPs: Auckland District Law Society: The definition of ISPs is so broad it can include ordinary businesses with websites and whose employees use the Internet … there is potential for serious disruption to a large number of ordinary New Zealanders, well beyond those individual consumers whose Internet connection may be terminated”

On lack of “safe harbour” for ISPs, leaving them vulnerable to being sued: Auckland District Law Society: “We consider this provision to be out of step with the remaining provisions, sections 92B-92E, which reflect the internationally accepted approach that there should be safe harbour provisions for ISPs”

On sanctity of contract: Judge David Harvey: “section 92A is unnecessary and gives rise to a situation where a person may be deprived of rights under a contract without proper legal process. If it had been Parliament’s intention to provide for a process whereby contract termination should take place, Parliament should have provided such process by legislation after proper consultation with all interested parties.”

On impact on universities: New Zealand Vice-Chancellors Committee Negotiating Team: “both staff and students of a university are reliant on information technology, access to the Internet and its intranets to undertake teaching and research. Termination of staff and students’ accounts would have serious downstream consequences for those persons and for a university, which already has in place disciplinary procedures for both staff and students who breach the law and university policies.”

On users’ rights: Google: “Section 92A puts users’ procedural and fundamental rights at risk, by threatening to terminate users’ Internet access based on mere allegations and reverse the burden of proof onto a user to establish there was no infringement. In Google’s experience, there are serious issues regarding the improper use and inaccuracy of copyright notices by rights holders.”

On cost of compliance for councils: ALGIM (Association of Local Government Information Management): “ALGIM is concerned about the cost of compliance with the Act in terms of investigating allegations.

On artist and public opposition to 92A: Creative Freedom Foundation: “On our website we have a petition against Section 92A that has 18,243 signatures of which 9084 are artists.”

On public impact: Matt Vickers, Business Analyst and Developer: “At my place of work we conduct work for clients that have users logging in on a daily basis: newspapers, banks, government sites. To deny them access to this information is wrong, as it is, especially for the younger generation, the primary mode of access. We are also finding that the government is putting more content online and wanting to conduct less support through call centres. Again, a law like 92A is counter-productive to this.”

On international trends and trade: George Gordon: “The EU parliament, one of the biggest economic powerhouses on the planet has flatly rejected the idea as well … the argument that S92a is necessary to fulfill requirements with our trading partner thus falls flat on its face.”

On the economy: ISP Association of New Zealand: “We have grave concerns around the disruptive impact of this on us as ISPs and particularly on our business customers, at a time when we should be focusing on building the digital economy, not tearing it down.

On consultation: New Zealand Society of Authors: “The NZSA (PEN NZ INC) feels that both S92A and The Draft ISP Copyright Code of Practice need further development and clarification and this must involve creators and copyright holders.”


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