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New Zealand to Review Internet Disconnection After UN Criticism

New Zealand to Review Internet Disconnection After UN Criticism

Labour communications spokeswoman Clare Curran says “It’s time for a complete review of our copyright laws” after UN Report calls Internet disconnection, “regardless of the justification provided,” a violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

It seems as though New Zealand is the first country to feel the fallout from a UN report criticizing Internet disconnection as tool to fight online copyright infringement.

Last week Frank La Rue, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, submitted a report concluding that disconnecting Internet users, “regardless of the justification provided, including on the grounds of violating intellectual property rights law, to be disproportionate and thus a violation of article 19, paragraph 3, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”

That article specifies that everyone has the right to freedom of expression in any type of media.

In response to the report New Zealand’s Labour communications spokeswoman Clare Curran said it’s “time for a complete review of our copyright laws.” She says that she agrees with La Rue’s conclusions that Internet disconnection violates international law.

New Zealand enacted “three-strikes” legislation this past April after several years of ill-fated attempts. The law allows for fines of up to NZ$15,000 ($12,000) and Internet account suspensions for up to six months.

The country’s Green Party, long an opponent of the graduated response scheme, called it a “little rich” that the Labour was now having a change of heart.

“I think it is a little rich, Labour, who voted in favour of this Bill are now calling for a complete review of our copyright laws after this report,” said a Green Party spokesman.

He reiterated La Rue’s criticism of the policy, and noted how vital an Internet connection has become to our daily lives.

“More and more of our democracy, interaction with Government departments, business and social life occur online,” said the spokesman.

He pointed out how Germany had been successful in combating online infringement AND increase the use of legal download services without disconnecting infringers.

“As recent research from Germany shows, Increasing availability of digital content shows that one can combat Internet piracy without infringing basic rights, and was sadly lacking in this or the last Government’s approach to illegal file-sharing,” said the spokesman.

In light of the report he says the Minister should “terminate” possible Internet termination from the country’s law books.

It’s hard not to disagree.

Let’s hope France and the UK reconsider their own “three-strikes” legislation as well.

Stay tuned.

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Jared Moya
I've been interested in P2P since the early, high-flying days of Napster and KaZaA. I believe that analog copyright laws are ill-suited to the digital age, and that art and culture shouldn't be subject to the whims of international entertainment industry conglomerates. Twitter | Google Plus
Matt P
Matt P

Don't worry, our idiot justice minister comes to the rescue: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/5110681/Copyright-law-will-not-change "Justice Minister Simon Power today said he had not put in a great deal of thought about whether internet access was a human right, but added he was "very satisfied" with the legislation and had no intention to revisit it. "The legislation that we passed a number of weeks ago now was thoroughly consulted over a two-year period. "I'm confident that it's been through just about every test and every forum it could have been to get where it is today." He pointed out that the disconnection provisions would only be introduced by regulation if the warning regime did not operate as it was supposed to. "It's a complex area of law, it is finely balanced and it is not easy, but I think we've come to an arrangement which is satisfactory to both rights holders and ISPs."" About the only true statement there is that Simon Power doesn't put a great deal of thought into anything. Except looking down his nose at the citizens of NZ, of course.

Brendon John
Brendon John

"It’s a complex area of law" .... when you're messing with peoples rights. " if the warning regime did not operate as it was supposed to."... which it wont "consulted over a two-year period"... yet the internet was still compared to SkyNet from the terminator movies Piracy in the context of sharing digital media will always evolve and can't be pinned down with brute force. Make a legislation that catches people by identifying the household they live in and "natural selection" will push piracy in NZ to a more advanced level My prediction: Simon Power has just created a demand for the SeedBox market in New Zealand. more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seedbox

wizz
wizz

Gemany is on a pay-up-or-else scheme, which is as bad as disconnecting people. Well, I hope one day they will grow some brains.

Anon
Anon

I think the pay-or-less schemes are ideal. New Zealand has a really good one. Much better than Germany's, since a tribunal decides the fines in New Zealand. No need for disconnections. Everyone does better with the fines. ISPs keep their subscribers. IP owners get paid.

Jared Moya
Jared Moya

Exactamundo. "Dont do the crime if u cant pay the fine." :)



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