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No surprise at growing dismay over Copyright Act

Media Release - 18 February 2009 - InternetNZ (Internet New Zealand Inc) is not surprised at the spread of local and international reaction against Section 92A of the Copyright Act, noting that InternetNZ has consistently urged the Government to repeal or at least delay introduction of the Section.

However, InternetNZ believes it is still not too late for the Government to resolve the issue, which was not, after all, of its own making.

Executive Director Keith Davidson says the National Government simply does not need to take the rap for this error in judgment by the previous Government.

"We believe it is unfortunate timing and that the Ministerial workload following the change of Government has prevented Ministers acting to-date. However, the issue has come to a head and there is nothing to lose by taking action now.

 “The public backlash, the risk of business disruption, and the introduction of onerous compliance costs on business are big negatives for the Government that can be avoided.

Davidson says it is not far wrong to say that New Zealand has become an international laughing stock, but it is more serious than that.

“This is an assault on basic human freedoms on the Internet, and it has not gone unnoticed by the general populace here and abroad. The protest involving blacking out of Internet photos and websites has grown legs and spread internationally across social networking groups including Twitter, Facebook and MySpace, and through exposure in high profile publications such as The Guardian and music magazine NME."

Davidson says there is deep concern in the Internet community, and beyond, at the attempts to introduce these types of laws globally, and it is dismaying that New Zealand bought into it.

"As in other areas of global society New Zealand has long been a strong example to the global Internet community, showing leadership in technological development and public policy, through enlightened self-regulation and careful Government intervention as required.

"In the global Internet community New Zealand stands for a democratic and highly principled approach to policy. The world benefits from our example through knowledge exchange and decision-making at the highest levels of Internet governance.

"Ploughing on with Section 92A tarnishes that reputation for the sake of an ill-thought-out experiment pushed for by global corporations with no apparent concern for the rights of New Zealanders."

"It is clear that the global entertainment industries pushing for this type of law either don't understand the Internet technologically and/or have no concern for the public good. Cutting off people’s and business' Internet without proper adjudication of their guilt is simply wrong, and it won’t work any - it’s just a huge and expensive disruption for ISPs and businesses and distressing for the public at large."

Keith Davidson

Executive Director


021 377 587

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