Saturday, February 28, 2009

Guilty, though not charged - internet freedom

New Zealand has a law, due to come into effect yesterday, which says that if you are accused of theft of copyright materials over the internet (like music files), then your internet service provider is obliged by law to cut off your internet access. That is, if you are *accused* (not proven guilty), your service provider (your ISP, your local coffeeshop, your local bookshop, your school and so forth) are required to prevent you from accessing their services.

New Zealand's new Copyright Law presumes 'Guilt Upon Accusation' and will Cut Off Internet Connections without a trial. Join the black out protest against it!
Not surprisingly this silly law has come under intense fire. Last week, the government backed down a little, saying that the law's backers should explain exactly how this could work. If they don't, within a month, the law will be struck down.

TVNZ says:

After weeks of protest the government has delayed introducing controversial copyright laws. It has told the industry to find a way to make the legislation work or it will be dumped altogether.

The government has announced it is delaying the controversial section 92a that critics say will force internet providers to cut people's connections without proving first they have breached copyright.

The Prime Minister has told the laws backers they have a month to figure out how they will make it work, or it goes.

"Let's see if that code of practice can be achieved. They've been promising it for some time, they say they're close, we're giving them another onth to do that," says John Key.

No need to get smug if you're not in New Zealand - Australia has Clean Feed censorship, in America President Obama (along with failing to end the Iraq war) is appointing RIAA-tainted men to the DOJ, and in the UK, censorship has been around for years and is set to expand.

Governments do not like the internet. They don't know how to make money out of it and they don't want people speaking to each other without their permission. If they get their way, they'll kill it. If you want an internet that is purely for buying taxed goods at big websites, you can have it. If you want it for anything else - start preparing for a battle. We didn't have it 20 years ago and we could well not have it in 20 years' time.

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