New Zealand: Three strikes and no Internet

by Mathew on October 9, 2008 · 8 comments

BoingBoing has a link to a blog post by a New Zealander who sat in on a meeting with New Zealand officials, a meeting ostensibly about getting their input on the country’s proposed copyright legislation, and in particular a so-called “three strikes” rule, which would force Internet service providers to cut off users after warning them twice about copyright infringing behaviour. But as it turns out, the minister wasn’t there to hear any input about why such a rule is either a) wrong, b) stupid or c) wrong — she was there to chew out critics for even suggesting any such thing, and to tell them the law is going through regardless.

She began by strongly expressing her anger that we had complained to her at this stage in the proceedings. None of us, she said, had been to see her before this on this topic. When we protested that we had worked with the Select Committee, which had removed this provision – and balanced it with one which made licence holders liable for false accusations – she said that this was completely inappropriate of the Select Committee, because Cabinet had already decided this was going ahead.

When the group of which Colin Jackson was a part tried to protest that it wasn’t easy to tell for sure whether people were engaging in copyright infringement, the minister said it worked for child pornography; when her critics pointed out that child pornography was a federal crime and copyright infringement was a civil matter, she said that was irrelevant; when they said that removing people’s Internet access was all out of proportion with the alleged offense, she said that New Zealand’s cultural industries were being decimated and something had to be done.

As bad as Canada’s Bill C-61 is — and as Michael Geist continues to point out, it is pretty bad — it’s not nearly as bad as that. Yet.

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