Gareth Hughes: 'Three strikes' piracy law not right for NZ

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Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

We support Kiwi creatives and think encouraging greater legal content to be available online would be more effective than this law which makes it cheaper and faster for large, very-profitable corporate media companies to enforce their old distribution models.

Under this new law, it is the account holders who are liable for all infringing on their account, even if it is a flatmate, a computer virus or a hacker using an open Wi-Fi network who actually shared the files.

Even the Speaker of Parliament, as account holder, will be liable for all infringing on the Parliamentary internet account and could face fines. For small businesses, libraries and universities who are responsible for the actions of the staff or customers, this may come with big costs.

It's disappointing the Government hasn't done enough to prepare and inform the public or schools for the introduction of this law.

The most controversial element of the bill was internet termination as a third-strike remedy.

Termination should have no place on our law books given copyright infringing is a civil, not criminal offence.

The punishment is disproportionate and is unlikely to actually act as a deterrent.

Termination sets a bad precedent and even the United Nations has declared internet access a human right and criticised "three strikes" laws like New Zealand's which may see users lose access for repeat infringements. In a recent report UN special rapporteur Frank La Rue said the internet had become, "a key means by which individuals can exercise their right to freedom of opinion and expression".

New Zealand is far behind the rest of the world in terms of our access to new material released on the conventional supply chain, and we often have to wait months, even years before we can get content that is freely available overseas.

We support Kiwi creatives and think encouraging greater legal content to be available online would be more effective than this law which makes it cheaper and faster for large, very-profitable corporate media companies to enforce their old distribution models.

We need the Government to encourage greater availability of legal file-sharing.

It was disturbing that Commerce Minister Simon Power, in answering my recent questions in Parliament, wasn't even aware of Netflix, the massively popular US legal media distribution system given his Government had invested thousands of hours and millions of dollars into trying to reduce online infringing.

Encouraging greater legal alternatives is the most effective thing we could do to support Kiwi artists.

If you need advice or have questions check out www.3strikes.net.nz

- NZ Herald

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