This website and associated social media are run by InternetNZ with the help of volunteers.
We want to provide people and organisations with the information and help they need to understand the new law, the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act 2011.
We’re also interested in providing a hub for the collective wisdom and experience of everyone to help your fellow Kiwis. This will, hopefully, be a way to balance some of the enormous resources and questionable messages being put out by organisations representing big and powerful copyright owners.
We don’t like the new law. But it is the law. We therefore don’t want this website to help or encourage others to break the law. Our focus is on giving information; helping people and organisations to protect themselves; and giving unbiased advice on what your options are.
Here’s why we don’t like the new law:
1. It puts the cart before the horse. Harsh penalties have been legislated in without a debate on the right balance of copyright in an Internet age. There is no objective evidence that there is a problem that needs to be solved by legislation. Revenue for copyrighted work such as movies and music, counting all forms of distribution, is booming globally.
Ironically, studies show that illegal file sharing actually boosts purchase volumes:
2. The big and powerful copyright owning companies continue to follow outdated business models, such as using geography-based and medium-based (films, DVDs, telecast rights, etc.) roll outs of the latest movies. This law only reinforces those outdated business models.
A large proportion of copyright infringement occurs when people have no access to legal sources, even when they are willing to pay. Some industries like the music industry have made significant progress while others use laws like the 3 strikes one to delay the inevitable. This law provides no incentives or compulsions for the evolution of such industries and making legal sources available for Kiwis ready to pay a reasonable cost for content.
3. The legislation was passed in the name of protecting Kiwi creatives. Yet politicians did not listen to the progressive voices of Kiwi artists, such as the Creative Freedom Foundation. It’s also fair to say most politicians never understood what they’re legislating. See, for example, the whole Skynet debacle and National MP Melissa Lee’s slip-up.
The law serves the interest of the large content distribution companies rather than artists. For example, see the Wikileaks cables about the pressure and money being applied by the USA on New Zealand. It’s therefore perhaps not surprising that the law was rushed through in its final stages under the guise of urgency for the Christchurch earthquakes.
4. Overseas, these types of laws have led to questionable practices where suing people to make money has become an end in itself. It’s no longer about providing an incentive to create, rather it’s becoming an extortion tool.
For example, see:
5. Some aspects of the law are exceptionally bad- account holder liability even when they’ve done nothing wrong; assumed guilt unless challenged and possible violation of the Bill of Rights; Internet suspension remains on the books; the possible death of free wifi; and no need for copyright owners to prove that they actually own the copyright when sending a notice (Google submitted that around 30% of the notices they have received in the US are false or incorrect.)
6. By not fully meeting the costs of Internet Service Providers in setting up and administering the new system, to the extent that these costs are passed on as higher Internet access costs, all Internet users end up paying for the benefit of copyright owners.
It is possible that those who want to continue to infringe copyright will find relatively simple ways to get around the new law or use different means, rendering it largely useless. The law will therefore only penalise the uninformed and naive.