Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The file-sharing bill

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  • Don Christie,

    Russell, it is a shame you chose a straw man comment to supposedly illustrate the position of those that disagree with this Bill (Act).

    Your presumption of restraint on the part of so called "rights holders" seems misplaced. Currently Lime Wire is being asked for $75 trillion by the US recording industry. That's about 6 times the US GDP and more than the world's GDP. Services such as Youtube are constantly taking down content that has no business being removed, because the presumption of guilt is a less risky position to take, even if it is not exactly what the law says.

    Nuisance lawyers are springing up all over the world. There business model is to use laws like this to threaten and shake money out of Internet users, such as you, your children and Melissa Lee.

    Frankly, the ignorance demonstrated by those who spoke in favour of the bill was far more terrifying than your commentator on NBR. Lee and Young - take a bow.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1615 posts Report Reply

  • Juha Saarinen,

    The provision for suspensions will be delayed for two years, and even then would need to be enacted by an Order in Council on the part of a Cabinet minister, with the assent of the Governor General.

    This isn't right from what I understand. The termination clause can be activated tomorrow, if the government chooses. There is also no provision for consultation and submissions before the OiC is issued.

    As Don points out, "rights holders" and "restraint" are two concepts that appear to be mutually exclusive. The Limewire case is just one example. Look at the UK where lawyers are sending out threatening letters to people as pure fishing expeditions, in essence to extort money out of them. This is all documented and, perfectly legal over there.

    To think that a process that doesn't have any safeguards against false accusations from rights holders beyond having to pay a processing fee to the ISPs won't be abused when there are countless examples of it having happened overseas doesn't strike me as a realistic position.

    Since Nov 2006 • 523 posts Report Reply

  • Jaymax,

    In one sense, the 3-strikes law is way worse than the legal-aid changes - sure the direct impact on New Zealanders from three-strikes will be less; but the subjugation of NZ democracy to an organised, international, largely-hidden campaign to implement this ACTA clause - supposedly no longer part of that agreement - freaks me out.

    Wherever it is this law comes from, it is not from within NZ.

    http://www.google.co.nz/search?q=internet+three-strikes

    Auckland • Since Oct 2010 • 25 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Don Christie,

    Russell, it is a shame you chose a straw man comment to supposedly illustrate the position of those that disagree with this Bill (Act).

    Oh come on, Don. There are a number of similar comments in that thread alone. My point isn't to "supposedly illustrate the position of those that disagree with this Bill" -- because that would be me -- but to note that some people are being a bit silly about it.

    Your presumption of restraint on the part of so called “rights holders” seems misplaced. Currently Lime Wire is being asked for $75 trillion by the US recording industry. That’s about 6 times the US GDP and more than the world’s GDP. Services such as Youtube are constantly taking down content that has no business being removed, because the presumption of guilt is a less risky position to take, even if it is not exactly what the law says.

    Nuisance lawyers are springing up all over the world. There business model is to use laws like this to threaten and shake money out of Internet users, such as you, your children and Melissa Lee.

    It's worth noting that lawyers, nuisance or otherwise, will not be able to argue at the tribunal, and that this law doesn't provide for the kind of actions you've cited.

    Frankly, the ignorance demonstrated by those who spoke in favour of the bill was far more terrifying than your commentator on NBR. Lee and Young – take a bow.

    I'd add "stupidity" to "ignorance".

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18520 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    I'd be interested in an informed Lawyers point of view on two counts.

    i) Is the law sufficient to deter the sort of "pay up or we'll sue" drive by extortion rakcet widely exploted by firms like ACSLaw.

    ii) What is the risk opf ending up with the cheesy little racket that is CLL ?.

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 708 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    I'm starting to understand how legislation like this gets through. Check out these geniuses:

    National MP Katrina Shanks, allegedly "fairly savvy when it comes to computers".
    [TL:DW? "file-sharing is actually an illegal activity". File-sharing is "quite different to copyright", etc. Just feel the stupidity.]

    National MP Jonathan Young
    [TL:DW? The internet is basically electronic DNA, like Skynet from the Terminator movies, and was invented by Microsoft and Google. Also, Jules Verne was a famous painter. What a bell-end!]
    [Seriously, don't bother watching this one; life's too short.]

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    Russell, you are very brave to post something on copyright. Judging by the first comment, I expect you'll have a flamewar on your hands before you can say "cease and desist".

    I am struggling with some of the Chicken Little comments people have been making on teh webz about this version of the bill. It's a reasonable compromise in light of what each party was originally asking for. There are zealots on both sides of the copyright spectrum, but I suspect most people would agree that the issue of to what extent and how copyright should be enforced in the digital age is a complex one.

    I'd be surprised if there was now a sudden rush of threat letters from lawyers demanding enormous amounts of cash from alleged infringers. The Copyright Tribunal will effectively act as a gatekeeper and ensure that ludicrous damages claims are dismissed. Most of the crazy amounts we hear being demanded from alleged infringers come from the US, where they have quite different laws, an aggressive enforcement culture, and an entirely different damages regime.

    The disconnection remedy is also likely be used infrequently. The other point to note is that disconnection will probably be totally ineffective against someone who is determined to access the internet. As a an enforcement remedy it's probably quite useless, in fact.

    I haven't taken a position for or against this law. It's a bit of a muddled compromise, but I really don't think it's going to change much for most people.

    What truly disgusts me over the passing of this legislation is the abuse of urgency. The content doesn't offend me so much.

    Yorke of The Atatu • Since Feb 2009 • 787 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    It's a reasonable compromise in light of what each party was originally asking for.

    It strikes me that what counts as a compromise these days is often a solution which benefits no one at all.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Shanks:

    It’s important to note that file-sharing is actually an illegal activity.

    No, it isn’t, you moron.

    And this is a member of the select committee …

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18520 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming,

    The provision for suspensions will be delayed for two years, and even then would need to be enacted by an Order in Council on the part of a Cabinet minister, with the assent of the Governor General

    Juha's right. The 2 year period is for review of the law as a whole. The Minister can activate the termination clause any time he thinks it's justified by taking a request to the Executive Council and getting the GG to sign it (please point me to any GG who has ever refused assent to an OIC)

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 1769 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Juha Saarinen,

    This isn't right from what I understand. The termination clause can be activated tomorrow, if the government chooses. There is also no provision for consultation and submissions before the OiC is issued.

    Ta. Fixed.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18520 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to ScottY,

    What truly disgusts me over the passing of this legislation is the abuse of urgency.

    And that's what got a lot of people's dander up on Twitter last night.

    Most were not well-informed about the Bill's content or implications, as seen in knee-jerk calls to reactivate the #blackout campaign with no sense of outcomes or tactics. Or to launch a denial of service attack at midnight on the legislation.govt.nz website (like anyone would notice).

    Witnessing how utterly thick some of our supposed representatives are made a particular impression on at least few young voters. And by contrast Gareth Hughes' impassioned and articulate performance garnered him and his party all sorts of respect.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16280 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg, in reply to 3410,

    Aggh, the stupid! It burns!

    (Man, hearing those two is sooo depressing…)

    ETA: that would be Katrina Shanks and Jonathan Young, just to be clear. And hearing that she was on the select committee is just mind-blowing.

    Lower Grey Lynn • Since Jul 2009 • 789 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Gracewood,

    What makes me particularly grumpy about this whole affair is that we already have laws that cover copyright infringement. There is nothing stopping rights holders from going through the courts to get names and addresses from ISPs, then suing those infringers.

    Why is it our responsibility to ease the burden on these gigantic multinational companies to get their existing remedies?

    I'd like to see the documents that show they've already tried this a number of times, and proven it to be unsuccessful, thus resulting in our need for a new law to cover a specific type of infringement on a specific platform.

    Orkland • Since Nov 2006 • 167 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Shanks: It’s important to note that file-sharing is actually an illegal activity.

    No, it isn’t, you moron.

    But illegal file-sharing cat is illegal? (Just trying to get the hang of Shanksian syntax.)

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1408 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Re your comment on cuts and tightened criteria for legal aid. Yet another person with Aspergers unjustly charged and imprisoned. Fortunately, his mother kept fighting. With less access to legal aid and less ability to choose lawyers who know about such conditions, more such injustices are inevitable.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 2008 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Ben Gracewood,

    I'd like to see the documents that show they've already tried this a number of times, and proven it to be unsuccessful, thus resulting in our need for a new law to cover a specific type of infringement on a specific platform.

    The idea of a tribunal where those subject to complaints can challenge them was actually promoted by various Section 92A opponents. The copyright owners resisted it. Same with the schedule of fines, which was seen as a more reasonable remedy than termination.

    The rights owners claim that the cost of action against individual infringers via the courts is untenable. The original S92A was their dream scenario -- they were going to be able to make the ISPs act as their agents and pay for the privilege of doing so.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18520 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Ben Gracewood,

    Why is it our responsibility to ease the burden on these gigantic multinational companies to get their existing remedies?

    To comply with "free" trade agreements with the US, whose huge entertainment industry is pushing this into as many places as they can rather than change their business models.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16280 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    … with the assent of the Governor General.

    That’s like me saying that this post was written with the assent of my computer.

    The G-G in approving Orders in Council (as in most other things) acts on the advice of ministers and has no discretion to disagree.

    As far as this measure is concerned, Brownlee and Key could have lunch with a Big Music rep in the morning and pass it in the afternoon. Why enact it if they don’t intend to implement it?

    I’d doubt it would be very effective, because it seems to be easily circumventable by simply switching to a different ISP.

    But it’s great that something is radicalising the iPhone buying classes, many of whom voted in this goverment, fueled by outrage and glee. (Outrage at having to put a name on an election poster, glee at a 6% reduction in higher rate income tax).

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4362 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to 3410,

    National MP Jonathan Young
    [TL:DW? The internet is basically electronic DNA, like Skynet from the Terminator movies, and was invented by Microsoft and Google. Also, Jules Verne was a famous painter. What a bell-end!]
    [Seriously, don't bother watching this one; life's too short.]

    I NEED YOUR CLOTHES, YOUR BOOTS AND YOUR INTERWEBS!

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4063 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Martin Lindberg,

    Aggh, the stupid! It burns!

    Let's not forget reliable genius Melissa Lee:

    And all that with a straight face after her now-famous tweet the previous day. Home taping is killing, etc.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16280 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi,

    The “termination” will be a six-month suspension, which appears to leave the infringer free to go and get another internet connection.

    Probably a little bit too inside baseball for most people involved in this debate, but as someone who will be involved in the practical side of this, I'd say the discussions as to how this actually works between telcos will be very interesting.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 846 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Sacha,

    To comply with "free" trade agreements with the US, whose huge entertainment industry is pushing this into as many places as they can rather than change their business models

    If we move to comply with anything like the American position in the TPPA talks, it will be time to head to the barricades, my friend. Because all the work, all the process that improved this bill, would be flushed down a big smelly toilet.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18520 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    Many wiser heads on this subject here than me, but given that global copyright holders already have significant tracking over the "mass-market" illegal file sharing (I'm sure there's crazy backdoor techy shenanigans that let you avoid it, but I'm talking about Googling "Harry Potter torrent" here) why would they NOT just gather up those IP addresses and have the ISPs send warning letters for what will surely be a fairly small "processing fee" (what does it cost to send a letter?).
    They clearly believe (rightly or wrongly) that this is a significant problem, and given their legal bills just to get this far, a mass-mail campaign seems insignificant cost. They'll quickly get a big pool of "double-warned" people that they can choose to take into the Tribunal as they see fit - with a subsequent lobbying campaign pointing out how under-resourced this Tribunal is.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1720 posts Report Reply

  • Fooman, in reply to nzlemming,

    please point me to any GG who has ever refused assent to an OIC

    They're not allowed to refuse, are they?

    FM

    Lower Hutt • Since Dec 2009 • 86 posts Report Reply

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