New Zealand's long-delayed three-strikes law has taken effect.
The law allows for fines of up to NZ$15,000 ($12,000) and Internet account suspensions for up to six months.
The law takes effect despite a UN report that concluded
disconnecting Internet users, regardless of the justification provided, is a violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights because it limits the type of media individuals are allowed to use to express themselves.
Special Rapporteur Frank La Rue said that he was alarmed by disproportionate Internet disconnection proposals, and that individuals should never have their Internet access terminated for any reason, including copyright infringement.
Next month, New Zealand is scheduled to implement Section 92 of the Copyright Amendment Act. The act provides Guilt Upon Accusation, which means that if a file-sharer is simply accused of copyright infringement, they are immediately guilty.
The punishment - summary Internet disconnection.
However draconian other country's 3 strikes policies are, they are nothing compared to the proposed Section 92 of the Copyright Amendment Act in New Zealand. Scheduled for
introduction at the end of February 2009, the act assumes that any individual simply accused of sharing copyright works on the Internet, is guilty. The punishment for guilty is summary disconnection from the Internet.
proposal hasn’t been well received by many outside of the entertainment industries. One group voicing dissent is the Creative Freedom Foundation. On January 2nd the group launched with the aim to unite artists who are against the removal of New
Zealander’s rights through proposed changes in Copyright law, done in the name of protecting creativity.
Foundation Co-Founder and Director, Bronwyn Holloway-Smith is strongly opposed to Section 92, which she says threatens Internet
disconnections without evidence or even a trial. The result of this law could be that one rogue employee or even one virus infected computer could bring down a whole organization’s internet and it’s highly likely that schools, businesses,
hospitals, and phone services will be harmed by this.
Hollyway-Smith warns that as the government has shown support for the bill, unless there is a major public protest against it the proposals will roll over into law - just 54 days
from now. To this end, the foundation has started a petition and campaign against the Guilt Upon Accusation laws, called Not in my Name . The petition can be signed on the Creative Freedom Federation website.
Update: S92A Not to be Repealed
1st February 2009
The new National government finally made their intentions clear: they will stick with S92A, removing New
Zealander's right to due process and court trial before being found guilty.
Communications and Information Technology Minister Stephen Joyce announced that the government would take no action to repeal the law.
It seems that NZ is the only
one remaining willing to punish citizens before a trial and before any evidence has been held up to court scrutiny.