New Zealand Copyright Law Protestors Blackout Twitter

By February 18, 2009 Drop a comment

Internet Blackout NZ is a backlash against new legislation in New Zealand. Section 92 of the Copyright Amendment Act target Internet users and service providers, forcing termination of connections associated with copyright infringement without trial, nor punishment for false accusation. Anti-section 92 activists denounce the legislation as assuming "Guilt Upon Accusation." The scope is far larger than initially meets the eye, mostly because the actual text is vaguely worded. "Users" could easily be interpreted as individuals, Web sites, schools, or hospitals. In the pursuit of copyright protection, these institutions could be cut off from Internet access because of an accusation, or because of the actions of a single person that may be a visitor.

If this author is interpreting the legal jargon of the Copyright (New Technologies) Amendment Act, the condensed version is as follows:

92A: ISPs must have policy for terminating accounts of a person who repeatedly infringes copyright.

92B: ISPs may be held accountable to the copyright owner in relation to the copyright infringer mentioned in (A)

92C: If the ISP stores copyright infringing user material, and the ISP knows or has reason to believe that this material exists, the ISP must delete it or be held liable. Even if the content is deleted, the copyright owner still has the right to injunctive relief against the user or ISP.

The Act continues, with infringement notice requirements and a clause that ISP caching does not constitute copyright infringement.

The anti-92A movement is encouraging those with social networking accounts to exchange their avatar for one of solid black as a protest. Twitter users are using the meme #s92a and #blackout to identify the phenomenon and discuss the campaign. The combined efforts of sites such as the Creative Freedom Foundation and GeekZone hope to prevent the passing of this copyright law, which goes into effect the last day of February.

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