Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The file-sharing bill

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  • Kracklite, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    If you don’t think his punishment is adequate, there are avenues available. Use them. Don’t just complain on here about how woefully the system deals with its own miscreants.

    I might well, but I would have thought that that was the job of our alleged representatives, as I’ve noted before. The implication might be that if you don’t lodge a complaint yourself, you don’t care, but I do not believe that of you.

    Look, it’s all very well to say that this or that issue should be pursued by an individual, but as Oscar Wilde observed, “socialism will never work – it takes up too many evenings”. We have a representative democracy for a very specific reason, and if our representatives are not doing their jobs, it is their fault, not the citizens’ and this should not be used against the citizens, even de facto.

    I hear that there’s a global helium supply crisis…

    There's always Jupiter and Saturn. The latter has a shallower gravity well (Uranus and Neptune are probably too distant).

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 955 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    Done, in a complaint to the IPCA:

    I am concerned that the officer who behaved with gross inappropriateness regarding the interrogation of Aaron Farmer is not facing a serious inquiry.

    In particular, I note this news report:

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10719246

    and this Radio New Zealand interview:

    http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/ntn/ntn-20110414-0907-Aaron_Farmer_wrongfully_imprisoned-048.mp3

    which suggest that the officer interviewing Aaron farmer fraudulently, with intent to intimidate a suspect, lied to the suspect, with the result that a miscarriage of justice occurred. The officer may not have been wholly responsible, but it appears that his behaviour contributed to that miscarriage, which has been acknowledged as such by the crown. I believe that the conduct of the officer concerned should be investigated and disciplinary action taken according to judgement by the IPCA.

    There has been this automated reply:

    Online complaint form
    Thank you

    Your complaint has been received. We’ll be in touch.

    If you have any questions, you can contact the Authority’s Complaints Management Team by emailing enquiries@ipca.govt.nz or phoning toll-free on 0800 503 728.

    I hope for more than I would get from my local MP.

    Anyone may make a complaint through this site:

    http://www.ipca.govt.nz/Site/complaints/default.aspx

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 955 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh,

    See, this is one of those discussions that I, as an expat lurker, really love about PAS, because the collective intelligence that gathers here adds serious content to the reports I read in the Herald or Stuff (see that other thread... )

    I believe the first question from my non-lawyerly mind is answered, and this does seem to be a presumption of guilt thing. The next question for you lawyerly types is: Is this presumption of guilt really allowed under NZ's constitutional law? Is the presumption of innocence and the onus of proof being placed on the prosecution embedded deeply enough in our constitution for this law to be thrown out by the courts? Is that even possible in the NZ system?

    And for the technical types: I have heard of a Firefox add-on that is a proxy or VPN that puts you virtually within the Great Firewall of China. I have had no reason to try it being within the GFW myself, but I have heard of its existence. Everybody I mention this to says, "Why the hell would you want that?" because everbody I know wants out of the GFW so we can read all that unharmonious stuff you lot outside the GFW have easy access to, but the point is this: China's IPR enforcement is a tad on the lax side, and being within the GFW allows one to take full advantage of Baidu MP3 searches (for the time being... their current legal troubles may change that) or watch anything posted to Youku, Ku6, or Tudou, when those of you outside the GFW may well receive messages to the effect of "You lot in IPR respecting jurisdictions are shit out of luck with those kinds of searches. Go and pay for it" when you search for whatever the latest TV/pop music sensation may be.

    I've never quite managed to figure out how these things work, as there are physical cables that bring the physical signals bearing the information I want physically into the PRC... but if I can put myself virtually outside China and others can put themselves virtually inside China, each to take advantage of the particular advantages the virtual location offers, how is it that ISPs are expected to match the particular streams of electrons or photons flowing through the pipes with the IP addresses, which I presume are of a virtual rather than geographical nature?

    Those who know the technical side seem to think this law unworkable enough. How much more unworkable does it get when we throw such things as VPNs into the mix?

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 1951 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Kracklite,

    I hear that there’s a global helium supply crisis…

    Bollocks, there is no shortage of people sounding rather elevated in their manner of speech.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4613 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn, in reply to Kracklite,

    Don't laugh but my lifelong companion made a complaint using the IPCA site over a minor issue. Got a response and an apology (we framed the apology). I await with interest for the response to brother K.

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 707 posts Report Reply

  • glennd, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    With a strong VPN your ISP has no ability to see what you are doing, you can connect to an entirely different network encapsulated in normal IP traffic that no-one can see, unless they have very serious interception and cryptanalytic abilities. The only way that the NZ-end ISP could stop it is by suspicion of the identity of the server being used to setup the other end of the encrypted link and block the VPN altogether. But then they run the risk of blocking legit activities by companies and individuals using VPNs for the normal run-of-the-mill business.

    Since Mar 2011 • 45 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to glennd,

    The only way that the NZ-end ISP could stop it is by suspicion of the identity of the server being used to setup the other end of the encrypted link and block the VPN altogether. But then they run the risk of blocking legit activities by companies and individuals using VPNs for the normal run-of-the-mill business.

    And, realistically, they're not going to go after the people with the technical know-how; there will always be ways to stay two steps ahead of detection. They're going to go after the low-hanging fruit, the people with enough understanding to successfully torrent things but not enough to be smart about it.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • glennd,

    They're going to go after the low-hanging fruit, the people with enough understanding to successfully torrent things but not enough to be smart about it.

    Precisely, those who know what they are doing will nearly always find a way to do it discreetly. I'd also be somewhat wary of trusting a VPN with one end in China.

    Since Mar 2011 • 45 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    They’re going to go after the low-hanging fruit, the people with enough understanding to successfully torrent things but not enough to be smart about it.

    I don’t know how it’ll work, but I suspect they will go after people seeding new or unreleased albums/blockbuster movies.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 895 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Danyl Mclauchlan,

    I don’t know how it’ll work, but I suspect they will go after people seeding new or unreleased albums/blockbuster movies.

    The interesting thing to see will be whether they go after people seeding stuff unlikely to be released in NZ (e.g. plenty of lesser-known overseas TV shows), or whether they stick to the really big stuff.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Danyl Mclauchlan,

    I don’t know how it’ll work, but I suspect they will go after people seeding new or unreleased albums/blockbuster movies.

    I suspect you're right. Mark Kneebone of IMNZ once told me they're aware of people seeding hundreds of albums 24/7. I'd expect they'll be the ones to get nastygrams.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18508 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Melissa Lee explains herself:

    National MP Melissa Lee spoke out strongly against illegal file-sharing this week, but does she practise what she preaches?

    As the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment bill passed its third reading, Ms Lee told the House: "Breaking a law, whether it is actually assault on a person or an assault on a copyright, should be punished, not actually excused."

    But earlier in the week, she said via Twitter that she was going to listen to a "compilation a friend did for me of K Pop" - South Korean pop music.

    This was replied to by @christopherbull: "I really hope that compilation was all copyright cleared. Otherwise, you know, you'd be a glaring hypocrite."

    Ms Lee said last night the compilation was made of songs that were legally downloaded and paid for.

    "I'm not a pirate. I have never downloaded anything illegally in my life." Earlier she had told the House she did not even know how file-sharing through peer-to-peer systems worked.

    She really has no clue.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18508 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming,

    What they do is inhabit torrent sites, collect IP addresses of individual downloaders, look up the IP block to see which ISP it's been allocated to and then approach that ISP with the date, time and IP address. More or less.

    That's how the RIAA etc have been instituting their "lawsuits" in the US and that's what they say they'll do here.

    What they wanted in 92a was for the ISP to do all the work from there, with all the costs involved and no oversight. In that respect, they lost big-time, as the ISP will merely be passing on messages and charging them for the service.

    It's relatively trivial, if you have even an iota of clue, to mask your actual IP address by using a proxy. And timestamps may vary from server to server, so that information may well be wrong. There are so many ways this can screw up for Big Media that it's a pretty pointless operation, if you think of it as actually trying to technically prevent illegal activity.

    Think of it instead as a piece of theatre, much like the TSA "war on travelers" in the US. They want to be seen to be doing something. Some of them may even believe their own propaganda that 70% of people will stop downloading if they get a warning notice. Of course, in order to reach that level, they're going to have to send out an awful lot of notices. Expect anguished media execs in 6 months time complaining about the costs of getting ISPs to obey the law and that's why they need the termination button.

    They have another propaganda line that the ISPs are making huge profits from the downloaders and so have no interest in shutting the practice down. They have obviously never looked at ISP profit margins but it was their rationale for wanting ISPs to pay all the costs of policing.

    Also, expect them to take a number of cases through the Tribunal and the District Court, calling for maximum penalties - they have to, to justify having pushed this legislation through 2 separate governments. Some of them may even believe in it.

    And, if they can persuade Power to flip the switch, expect them to get someone terminated as soon as possible pour encourager les autres .

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 1768 posts Report Reply

  • Grant McDougall, in reply to Gaddis,

    It's not like speeding, where the camera picks you out
    Yup, it is. If you were to lend me your car and I went for a hoon it is still your car, your fine.

    You're getting the wrong end of the stick. The point I was trying to make is that there are cameras that will pick out who is at the wheel, regardless of who owns the car.

    However, unless there's a surveillance camera in every home, it'll be impossible to tell who actually clicks and d/loads stuff. Even if you live alone you could probably just say it was a friend mucking around on the computer while they were visiting.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2006 • 565 posts Report Reply

  • glennd,

    And, if they can persuade Power to flip the switch, expect them to get someone terminated as soon as possible pour encourager les autres .

    Sometimes I idly wonder if the end goal of certain groups is just to get P2P and similar activity banned altogether, and make it illegal for ISPs to allow such traffic. A bit extreme maybe, but given that they must know (even if cute little politicians don't) that the various current laws are technicaly useless then it does look like that in the end they'll go for the jugular of the whole activity. After all, ISPs are relatively few and more open to intimidation and lawsuits, compared to millions of Joe and Jen Sixpack wanting the latest releases. Still, only idle speculation.

    Since Mar 2011 • 45 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    The use of urgency is pretty disgraceful. Has any party or person proposed any sort of policy that would tighten rules on this matter?

    Noting of course that such tighter rules could themselves be easily changed

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 869 posts Report Reply

  • Jason Kemp, in reply to Kracklite,

    Thanks Kracklite.

    A millipede with OCD and a gatling gun couldn't shoot itself in the foot more often

    I had a conversation with a local Labour Party committee member in Auckland who is in despair at the leadership. When grass roots members don't see leadership that is a huge problem.

    I was bluntly asked who I think should challenge Goff

    On the wider debate - To summarise so far..

    1. This is not as bad as the first version 2 years ago.
    2. Nat's using urgency to push this through is an abuse of process.
    3. Anyone voting National should be made to watch - Shanks, Lee and other Nat mps on this - clueless would be charitable.
    4. The Labour party is missing in action
    5. Technically unenforceable - or at least very difficult


    Are there an PAS readers who would consider standing for parliament. We just have to do better than this.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 215 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Melissa Lee explains herself:

    That's priceless.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to glennd,

    Sometimes I idly wonder if the end goal of certain groups is just to get P2P and similar activity banned altogether,

    That would be a wet dream for a lot of companies that have been hurt by file sharing. Can't see it ever happening, though.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8305 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew C,

    The next question for you lawyerly types is: Is this presumption of guilt really allowed under NZ’s constitutional law? Is the presumption of innocence and the onus of proof being placed on the prosecution embedded deeply enough in our constitution for this law to be thrown out by the courts? Is that even possible in the NZ system?

    IANAL, but is that what a speeding ticket does? Or is that different..?

    Auckland • Since May 2008 • 143 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Jason Kemp,

    4. The Labour party is missing in action

    I think that's unfair. Even if you think they should have voted simply against the bill -- which would have passed anyway -- rather than doing the deal to require specific enactment before termination is available, Clare Curran has been highly engaged with all this.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18508 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    Is this presumption of guilt really allowed under NZ’s constitutional law? Is the presumption of innocence and the onus of proof being placed on the prosecution embedded deeply enough in our constitution for this law to be thrown out by the courts? Is that even possible in the NZ system?

    Starting in reverse:
    No, the Bill of Rights Act is not superior law so the courts cannot overturn legislation that fails to abide by its provisions. It is, in fact, explicitly inferior to all other legislation - if there is a conflict, the other legislation takes precedence.

    The presumption of innocence is not absolute. You're presumed guilty if you get a speed camera fine, or a parking ticket. So-called "strict liability" offences. Because this is not criminal law (yet), the niceties of presumption of innocence are considered to be somewhat more flexible, since you're at no risk of being incarcerated and the opposing party is not the state (though given the relative resources, I suspect I might rather prefer the state to a rapacious recording company).
    It's whiffy, and dubious, but it's not as clear-cut as if this was criminal law that presumed guilt. If they changed this from a lawsuit by the rights-holder to a prosecution by the state, but didn't change the presumed guilt, that would be very odoriferous indeed.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3889 posts Report Reply

  • Jason Kemp, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I stand corrected. Clare Curran has done well but I was talking about the bigger picture.

    "Rather than oppose it outright, we preferred to compromise to ensure New Zealanders are not denied access to the internet."

    hmmm

    and the

    "111-11 vote against Gareth Hughes’ amendment to the bill removing disconnection as a penalty?"

    how does Labour explain that one?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 215 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to BenWilson,

    Sometimes I idly wonder if the end goal of certain groups is just to get P2P and similar activity banned altogether,

    That would be a wet dream for a lot of companies that have been hurt by file sharing. Can’t see it ever happening, though.

    I think so. Apart from anything else, that is plenty of legitimately-shared content on P2P networks, Blizzard and other game companies use the same protocols to legitimately serve their updates, etc. OTOH, the ignorant blatherings of Lee,Shanks and Young are hardly cause for confidence.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18508 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Grant McDougall,

    However, unless there’s a surveillance camera in every home, it’ll be impossible to tell who actually clicks and d/loads stuff. Even if you live alone you could probably just say it was a friend mucking around on the computer while they were visiting.

    I’d be a bit pissed off if my friend was running down my data cap by launching a bunch of torrents and letting them seed while he visited, so that I got a warning letter. And then doing it again. And then a third time inside three months without me twigging what was going on despite the warnings. That’s just rude.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18508 posts Report Reply

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