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New Zealand copyright law proposal: you are guilty until you prove your innocence

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 9-Nov-2010 15:25

I am reproducing here Juha's blog post "New unjust copyright law alert: you are guilty until you prove your innocence" because this issue affects all New Zealand Internet users in general and I want it to get even more exposure.

Despite Labour and various lobby groups patting themselves on the back, saying a compromise has been reached that makes the amended copyright law workable and fair, it looks like things have in fact taken a turn for the worse.

Please make sure that you read this: Internet law guru Rick Shera is ringing the alarm bell about a completely new provision being introduced into the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill at the very last moment by the Commerce Select Committee.

Called Section 122MA, the provision essentially presumes an account holder is guilty if accused and must prove his/her innocence. Rights holders infringement notices are considered as conclusive evidence however. There is no sanction against rights holders who present erroneous or false evidence in the proposed new law either.

This is really bad from every perspective, and I fully concur with Rick that Section 122MA must be deleted. It's not necessary, not for rights holders, and not for copyright protection either.

As it stands, S122MA can be used maliciously, and applied to not just file sharers.

Update: Rick sent a correction - "The new regime can ONLY be used to target file sharing (you suggest that it could be used for something else).  Section 92C of course has exactly the same problem with guilt on accusation.  Irony is many submitted that the new regime and section 92C should be made consistent.  Little did we know that they would retrofit the new one!"

The irony here is that I remember David Farrar, wearing his InternetNZ hat, saying during the S92A debacle that it was necessary to engage and help shape the new law. If not, something much worse than S92A et al could appear.

Clearly, there have been many, many submissions on the new copyright bill and plenty of public opinion expressed too - and correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think anyone with the possible exception of rights holders have advocated that we remove the principle of innocent until found guilty from our laws.

So why did the Select Committee insert Section 122MA? This needs to be explained.



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Mauricio Freitas
Wellington
New Zealand


I live in New Zealand and my interests include mobile devices, good books, movies and food of course! 

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