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RIANZ Campbell Smith answers questions on copyright and s92a on Geekzone

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 2-Mar-2009 12:10

I have just posted RIANZ's Campbell Smith's answers to questions posted in our Geekzone forums regarding copyright, technology, New Zealand Copyright Law, s92a and more.

It is a very interesting reading and I'd like to thank Campbell for contacting us and offering his time to answer your questions, as well as being so speedy in providing his answers.

Now go have a read in our forums.

UPDATE: If you don't already have a Geekzone account I've also posted the Q&A in this blog too, so you can all comment without having to register in the forums.

Judith Tizard on New Zealand Copyright Law: we are all pirates and idiots

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 2-Mar-2009 10:04

A piece from Tom Pullar-Strecker on Business Day today brings Judith Tizard's views on the New Zealand Copyright Law, the same one she pushed ahead.

She says:

"Ms Tizard, who served as associate Commerce Minister under Labour till she lost her seat in November, says she doesn't mind the delay. But she says advising ISPs the clause might be scrapped meant they now had no incentive to seek a deal with the recording industry over how to deal with repeat copyright infringers."

ISPs have no insterest in having a "deal" with the recording industry, because ISPs are not in the business of monitoring what users do with their connections. This would be the same as asking Ford to make sure people who go over speed limits don't get to buy another Ford vehicle in the future. Insane, isn't it?

And she goes on:

"In my view they have completely fluffed it. The whole point of the act is that there are competing interests and what we need is the ISPs and the copyright holders to get together and talk about it."

Ok... And the way of getting ISPs and copyright holders to seat and discuss is by punishing the users?


Ms Tizard says New Zealand music makers have been losing out because of piracy. "What we were worried about in particular was peer-to-peer file sharing. New Zealanders who make music and films can lose everything almost overnight if their work is illegally posted. One of the big recording studios told me that whereas a couple of years ago they were fully booked and when they were giving time away it was at 4am, now they are only about 60 per cent booked."

Are you saying that local artists are recording less because of piracy? Have you seen any studies that confirm once and for all that illegal music downloads are hurting the industry? I mean a study not funded by any association with interests in the outcome of such a study?

As I said before, the industry says "CD sales are declining" and relate this instantly to "illegal music downloads". What they don't tell us is how much more music is being sold online through legal online stores such as Digirama, Telecom, Vodafone, Dick Smith, Apple iTunes and others. Perhaps people are buying less CDs because they are buying more online?

Instead of showing "number of CD sales" the music industry should be showing "average revenue per song" on the Top 100? Why not change the metric?

Or perhaps since Judith Tizard seems so keen on regulating stuff, why not demand the recording industry to keep up with times and technologies and offer other medium for their content?

And an anti-democratic comment:

Protests against section 92a that saw some websites temporarily removed and bloggers black out their photos were "childish", she says.

No protest is childish. It's the people demonstrating the only way they can, against much stronger forces.

"It is not going to get us any further forward. While I understand the concern of internet users who think that their rights to free music and free films are threatened, the right is not to steal New Zealand music and film makers' work. The right to use the internet is a vital one, but libraries can provide it."

I doubt many Internet users - the ones who adhered to the manifestation at least - are fighting for "free music" and "free films". No one condone copyright violations. I hate when people steal my content for goodness sake.

Once and for all please understand, Judith Tizard, people are fighting for their right of due process in court of law, not a mock of a law you helped create.

For background information on this law, read:

No relation between decline of CD sales and music download

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 28-Feb-2009 09:43

That's what professor Roger Wallis said during the Pirate Bay trial - and his wife is even happier now. Read more.

Cisco Visual Networking Index

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 25-Feb-2009 10:44

This is an interesting application released by Cisco today:

"Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) applications are designed to empower consumers and capture network usage trends worldwide that can be publicly shared. As bandwidth-intensive advanced services make network resources even more precious, we hope that enabling a better understanding of our individual and collective network behaviors will help maximize another valuable resource—your time.  Become a part of this global movement and use these applications to get a new perspective of how the network can improve your Connected Life. "

Geekzone #blackout

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 23-Feb-2009 10:36

It is the 23rd February 2009, Monday morning in New Zealand and our local readers will notice that Geekzone (alongside with hundreds of other New Zealand sites) is redirecting to this blackout page instead of the normal frontpage you are used to see. This will last until about midday.

We joined those other websites to protest against the New Zealand Copyright Act S92a, which comes in effect 28th February 2009 and allows ISPs to cut Internet services to any user accused of downloading copyrighted material.

Note that this is not the same as fair course of justice. ISPs are required disconnect the service from users that are repeatedly accused of infringing copyright without any trial.

While I support copyright, I am not capable of supporting a law that denies the accused side any form of defense.

You can read more background information here here, and here.

I was told by the CEO of a large New Zealand-based ISP that costs to make its company compliant with this new law was already running around $500,000. This is to create the required infrastructure to deal with incoming copyright infringement notices, investigation, etc.

You can imagine smaller ISPs will not have this kind of money around so in such cases I expect a very quick disconnection procedure, so they can avoid any costs.

This is not good for New Zealand development. Many small and medium business will be affected by this law due to the required policies to be put in place, plus the cost of monitoring, warning, etc.

I recently joined a manifestation by the Parliament steps, where MP Peter Dunne received a petition against this draconian law. I've posted pictures on Flickr.

Blackout manifestation against S92a pictures on Flickr

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 19-Feb-2009 17:16

I've uploaded all my pictures of this movement today at the New Zealand Parliament steps against the S92a.

More information at the Creative Freedom Foundation website.

The (RED) mouse

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 17-Feb-2009 17:24

This is for people following me on Twitter to answer the question posted there:

UPDATE: The (RED) mouse is gone to a new home now. Congratulations @slyall...

Geekzone will join the Internet blackout

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 16-Feb-2009 21:04

On Monday 23rd February 2009 New Zealand readers will find Geekzone and other local websites and blogs completely black during certain times of the day.

We are doing this as part of the Internet Blackout campaign to protest against the upcoming copyright laws that will virtualy remove users' rights when it comes to due course of justice.

You can find more about this on Juha's excellent post about S92a.

The Internet in New Zealand is under siege - join the resistance now

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 16-Feb-2009 16:51

The Internet in New Zealand is under siege - join the resistance now and help fight S92a.

HP Mini Mi Linux screenshots and pictures

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 14-Feb-2009 10:01

I now have the HP Mini Mi for about a week. What's so interesting about it is that HP made it really easy for people to use Linux by providing a very cool homescreen and the main tools people use.

Of course if you are a Linux type you can always hack things into it - or even if you are not (like me) you can still move around quite comfortably and get things done (for example I managed to get the Telecom 3G USB modem working with a couple of scripts and some editing).

This is really my first Ubuntu machine here (we do have a couple of Mac around the house but I mostly work on Windows boxes) so it is been so far really interesting.

I've walked around with the HP Mini Mi in my backpack (which is now feeling quite empty since this is a small laptop) and the people who saw it so far are quite interested - this includes a couple of friends of mine who would use this kind of laptop while on the move, and even my parents-in-law who travel quite a lot and have been complaining of the size and weight of their own laptops.

The Mini Mi follows the Mini Note in style, except that this time it comes in all black, with a beautiful stylish finish on the cover.

The HP Mini Mi is running Ubuntu and uses HP's own repositories hosted by Canonical to provide applications - but you can always add your own repository list to it of course.

I got the version running on a 16GB Sandisk SSD and it's really nice and fast - booting is quick, while suspend and resume work really well. Another interesting features is a recessed USB slot, that can take special USB drives that will fit flush inside the body of the laptop - additional storage without those USB drives hanging from the side of your laptop. Very clever.

The keyboard is really nice to use thanks to its size - keys travel light and a good length too. The screen opens ok, but I wouldn't mind if I could tilt it a bit more.

Below are some screenshots of the standard user interface. The all too common Windows key is replaced with a HP key that will always bring you back to the home screen. Check it out:

freitasm's profile

Mauricio Freitas
New Zealand

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

I'm the Geekzone admin. On Geekzone we publish news, reviews and articles on technology topics. The site also has some busy forums. Also worth visiting is TravelTalk NZ, a community for travelers!

Subscribe now to my blog RSS feed or the Geekzone RSS feed.

If you want to contact me, please use this page or email me Note this email is not for technical support. I don't give technical support. You can use our Geekzone Forums for community discussions on technical issues.

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