UPDATED: New Zealand bends over and offers up a DMCA to America with a shy, desperate smile

Update: I was wrong: it turns out that New Zealand's anti-circumvention rules are as good as they come -- the Kiwis slipped one by old Uncle Sam!

Andrew sez, "Released by the NZPA on Wednesday, 09 April 2008, this article mentions the passing into law of the Copyright (New Technologies) Amendment Bill in New Zealand."

It does not change the balance between protection and access to copyright material, but makes sure the balance can continue to operate when new technologies are involved.

It introduces an offence, carrying a sentence of a maximum fine of $150,000 or up to five years imprisonment, or both, for commercial dealings in devices, services or information designed to circumvent technological protection measures.

"Thanks Uncle Sam."

Thanks indeed -- now New Zealand joins the growing list of nations where it's illegal to sell digital lockpicks, even if you only use them to get at files you have the rights to, which have been locked up by greedy (or bankrupt, or uncaring, or sloppy) software and entertainment companies. Link (Thanks, Andrew!)


  1. I’m guessing that it’s perfectly legal to provide software and hardware circumvention tools for free or for a minimal at-cost fee. Maybe we’ll see a New Zealand non-profit org dedicated to circumventing digital restrictions

  2. Thinking along the lines of exceptions, a la ZBlack above:

    Is this “designed to” as in “built for the purpose of”, or “designed to” as in “does it on purpose, though not necessarily as its primary function”?

  3. Title was too good. I couldn’t get past the mental image and concentrate on whatever the hell the article was about.

  4. Booo!

    Cory, I am deeply disappointed and offended that you would equate anal sex with being weak, coquettish or detestable in some other manner.

    This is not the best bb post title ever, it is the most homophobic though.

  5. I don’t understand how the Copyright Amendment Bill has anything to do with America. Americans don’t have a copyright on really stupid laws – even if they did implement them first – and we New Zealanders can’t use them as a scapegoat. I mean, it’s not like we changed our copyright laws at the request of the US, unlike our antipodean neighbours (who did so to get a free trade agreement).

    And quite beside that, this bill isn’t that bad. The safe-harbour part of the bill, providing a copyright infringement notice procedure, isn’t a bad idea, and provides ISPs and sites like Youtube some refuge from litigious content owners. Plus, you know, up until the bill passed any and all format shifting was illegal in New Zealand, even for purposes such as accessibility to people with disabilities or archiving in libraries. And (don’t know if the DMCA has this) there are specific provisions that force the copyright holder to provide a DRM-free copy of the work to libraries, teachers, etc. – and if they refuse, or they’re non-responsive, the use of TPM (read: DRM) circumvention devices and techniques is specifically allowed.

    One other thing to consider: New Zealand has never had a concept of fair use. So, the usual argument used against the DMCA (that the act reduces access to material by disallowing DRM-breaking for fair use) just doesn’t apply.

    Finally, at least we still have short copyright terms. For instance, it’s publishing date plus fifty years for sound recordings and films. Which is certainly something worth celebrating (http://party.dubdot.com/).

  6. NZ may not have the legal concept of ‘fair use’ but most kiwis believe it to be a basic right – and would be offended to be told that what they do (format shifting etc) is illegal.

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