Tuesday, 3 May 2011
Did the USA write New Zealand's new law?
More on New Zealand - and both Techdirt and Zeropaid report that the Green party in New Zealand is demanding clarification of possible US government and US rights industry intervention in helping to shape and pass the country’s somewhat controversial Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act, including the US music industry’s offer to fund an intellectual property enforcement unit to combat what US officials call “key gaps in intellectual property rights enforcement”. The information that comes from Wikileaks cables from 2005 and the Green Party’s Information and Communications Technology spokesperson, Gareth Hughes reportedly said “The latest Wikileaks cables show how vulnerable our Government is to pressure from big businesses in the USA,” adding “We’ve got to keep politics honest, so it’s important to find out exactly what influence US interests had in securing the rushed passage of controversial copyright legislation through Parliament”. Hughes went on to say “This kind of blatant intervention in local law enforcement is undermining our democracy … the New Zealand Government has been subject to intense international corporate lobbying. As the Government consults further on the current online copyright regime, it must make decisions that work for the New Zealanders that elected them, not US interests” adding “Hollywood moguls shouldn’t be writing our law!” Similar allegations about undue US influence were raised about draft copyright legislation recently introduced in Spain.
Separately, it also seems that the US warned New Zealand that exceptions in copyright law for format and time-shifting for personal use should not be allowed in New Zealand because “these exceptions to copyright protection would send the wrong message to consumers and undermine efforts to curb unauthorized copying of CDs in New Zealand. They would cost the industry in revenue and profits and discourage innovation".