The New Zealand Parliament today rushed the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill through an urgent session that was intended to discuss Christchurch-related quake legislation.
Talk about low blow. Using urgent sessions to rush a legislation that will make allegation effective proof of wrong doing. Just read the new version of this bill:
122MA Infringement notice as evidence of copyright infringement
(1) In proceedings before the Tribunal, in relation to an infringement notice, it is presumed:
(a) that each incidence of file sharing identified in the notice constituted an infringement of the right owner's copyright in the work identified;
(b) that the information recorded in the infringement notice is correct;
(c) that the infringement notice was issued in accordance with this Act.
(2) An account holder may submit evidence that, or give reasons why, any 1 or more of the presumptions in subsection (1) do not apply with respect to any particular infringement identified in an infringement notice.
(3) If an account holder submits evidence or gives reasons as referred to in subsection (2), the rights owner must satisfy the Tribunal that, in relation to the relevant infringement or notice, the particular presumption or presumptions are correct.
From the very start whoever is being accused of infringing copyright is automatically guilty. It's up to the accused to provide evidence that this is not the case. The "rights owner" doesn't have to have prove anything to start with. It's enough to accuse someone.
Previously, S92A caused the New Zealand Internet Blackout, with the government then postponing the enactment of that law. This new version is even worse.
We are not talking about the right or wrong of copyright. But watching the Parliament TV stream is clear that our noble MPs have no idea of what file sharing is, how it relates to copyright infringement, and what exactly is being protected. It is also interesting to note the links some MPs, mainly from the Green Party, make between this piece of legislation and free trade agreement negotiations.
As for J'accuse in the title, it is a reference to an open letter written by Emile Zola, published in 13 January 1898. The letter accused the French government of anti-semitism and unlawful jailing of Alfred Dreyfus, sentenced for espionage. Emile Zola pointed out judicial errors and lack of serious evidence in the process.
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