New Zealand netizens go black in protest of new "no-proof" copyright law that cuts off your Internet on accusation

Nat Torkington sez,
The previous government in New Zealand enacted an amendment to the Copyright Act that required ISPs to have a policy to disconnect users after repeated accusations of infringement, over the objections of technologists. While it's possible to have a policy that requires proof rather than accusation, APRA (the RIAA of New Zealand) strongly opposes any such attempts at reasonable interpretation of Section 92. The minor parties in the coalition government oppose the "three accusations and you're offline" section and want it repealed. This is the last week before that law is due to come into effect and the Creative Freedom Foundation, a group formed to represent artists and citizens who oppose the section, has a week of protest planned to convince the ruling National Party to repeal S92.

The first day's action was blacking out Twitter and Facebook avatars. I did it, as did Channel 3 Business News, a Creative Director at Saatchi and Saatchi, oh and Stephen Fry. Kudos to Juha Saarinen who first put out the call. This is building up to a full Internet blackout day on February 23rd. I'm delighted to say that the idea was formed at Kiwi Foo Camp, and the folks who were at Kiwi Foo have been running wild with it--building banners, releasing templates, spreading the word.

New Zealand Goes Black (Thanks, Gnat!)


  1. Not just New Zealanders are blacking out. This new law is just one of many new disturbing developments regarding web freedoms. There is also the HR108 bill here in the USA, the “safe internet” proposed by Stanford research & The Australian web filtering issue. At least the new Facebook Terms of Service seems to have blown up in their collective faces with a quick back-pedaling going on. Disturbing trends.

  2. Anonymous Kiwi Coward points out that most New Zealanders are unaware of this.

    Infact, I’ve only seen coverage of this on boingboing.

  3. Considering how much of a dependency on the Internet the modern economy has, isn’t denying people the right to information without due process of law similar to denying people property, the means to make a living or even a bit like cutting off the water to their house? This is a serious deprivation, and is as silly as basing a civil government on “justice without law”. Welcome back to the 1790’s.

  4. Why don’t you start making accusations about infringement?

    Start with the PM and work your way down until all politicians are blacklisted and – hopefully – the law is repealed.

    And while you’re at it… if you’ve got any business competitors, you might as well nix their internet access.

  5. Seems like the sensible thing for people to do is for everyone who cares to call in a complaint that there is illegal content being hosted at the APRA’s IP(s).

    Fight fire with fire.

  6. (apologies if I am rehashing old ground)

    Do these sorts of laws allow anyone to make an accusation? Is there any burden of proof on the accuser?

    If not it seems ripe for both abuse, and a beautiful protest device. The day the law goes active, have the groups/people that fought the law send claims of copyright abuse for every person who voted for the law, and the executives of every company/group that supported them. It seems like this would get them all dumped off the net in one big block. Then they can see exactly how bad a law it is firsthand, and would have a heck of an incentive to get it changed/repealed as fast as possible.

  7. A number of great points have been made. If the law were to pass, could complaints be successfully filed to block government websites? Would such action demonstrate the law’s futility, or only serve the government with notice to carve an exception for themselves?

  8. This new law sends shivers up my spine. E.g Who now own telecom.
    They are probably connected with the ever increasing corporate news.
    Rupert Murdoch himself said that in a couple of years there will be only 3 media corporations (including his) that control the bulk of the worlds news etc. (if anyone can post a link to that quote that would be cool as I’ve lost the source)

    In the USA there is virtually no left wing radio remaining because the wealthy corporations have bought all those frequencies and turned them into sports channels etc. Apparantly if you live in or travel to America now all you hear is right wing talk radio shows.
    This could prove a bonanza for the National Party if people with left wing blogs or anti corporate themes to their websites have their connections cut. No need to prove anything at all re the copyright law.
    Corporations like to pay low or no taxes hence they favour political parties like National.
    Why cant ISP’s just fine people and pay the copyright holders. This would would seem to serve everyone’s purpose. The new law is creepy in the extreme and I am not surprised the National Party first pretended to be democratic and are now letting it procede.
    I am surprised and dismayed that the labour party introduced it. They have probably shot themselves in the foot again.

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