New Zealand proposes "guilty until proven innocent" copyright law to punish accused infringers


16 Responses to “New Zealand proposes "guilty until proven innocent" copyright law to punish accused infringers”

  1. Anonymous says:


  2. Anonymous says:

    Glad to see that New Zealand is dumping that pesky tradition of English Law that has sustained us for centuries. I look forward to them getting rid of those antislavery laws too, they are anti-business you know.

  3. Gregory Goldmacher says:

    Weren’t there some legal scholars in the US who tried to make the case that doing this kind of thing essentially allows the companies to use the courts to enforce what is essentially a criminal law sanction, but without the protections offered by criminal proceedings? Did that go anywhere? I realize that the NZ system is different, but I am curious.

  4. loroferoz says:

    Yeah, let’s throw the most important legal (and for that matter logical and scientific) maxim, namely

    “Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat.” Who claims is responsible for proving, not the one denying. The burden of proof is on the claimant. Extraordinary claims require…

    Just to make life easier for a certain party.

    Anon #9 had the right answer:

    “Let the good times roll

    Step 1: Get accused of copyright infringement.
    Step 2: With no proof or no evidence counter sue for libel
    Step 3: Profit
    Step 4: Goto 1″

    Sink these racketeers under litigation and damage money, I say! As soon as they make their first move, sink them. Nobody will miss them.

    Then,how to go after lawmakers who disregard basic rights, nay basic maxims of law? How to make sure they never get another elected office?

  5. shadowfirebird says:

    Interesting that this is the country in which both prostitution and whiskey-making are legal.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Gidday, we did an article with a roundup of articles and comments about the new proposal. It also includes a link to proposed wording of the new law.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Whooo i am so happy this is going through in new Zealand :)

    And i want three strikes based on accusations started up all over the world.

    Why? its simple heh money.

    You see this law lets copy right holders make accusations against you without proof. Now if if you yourself can prove that the accusations are false OR they can not show any substantial evidence then heh you can sue them for libel.

    Nothing in this law states that you can not sue for libel if the accusations are false. Sure you have to do it though an outside case away from this tribunal and no judge has the right or authority to stop you from suing someone on grounds of libel.

    And i bet there are plenty of solicitors who will go pro bono suing these copyright holders for you, if enough people get falsely accused or even accused but with no evidence then that solicitor will have a large case load to play with. Win with one easy cash the rest will get through as well.

    Heh now if the law gets changed again to make it impossible to sue someone who makes a copyright accusation though this tribunal then great that means political death for what every politician suggests changing the law to give copyright holders mainly companies immunity to the law and the same to the government who passes it.(Immunity for companies from the law is more impressive and enraging than the three strikes law in the eyes of the people)

    And if that immunity is granted Whooo everyone and i mean everyone make accusations against copyright holders. Bog down the system with false and even some genuine accusations your immune from been sued now heh

    Let the good times roll

    Step 1: Get accused of copyright infringement.
    Step 2: With no proof or no evidence counter sue for libel
    Step 3: Profit
    Step 4: Goto 1

  8. Anonymous says:

    I have actually written to the minister to protest this law, the response received stated that ‘innocent until proven guilty’ (as written in the NZ bill of Rights) only applies to criminal actions.

    The stated opinion by the minister was that the bill of rights and therefore innocent until proven guilty does not apply as this is a civil matter not a criminal one.

  9. LYNDON says:

    For clarity: the law as recommended won’t allow disconnection but does allow the Minister to introduce a disconnection penalty if someone convinces them the rest of the regime is not sufficient. And experience suggests this is likely to happen.

    There would be a manifest injustice consideration to this which might cover people like libraries, but they were specifically denied an actual exemption.

    The generally tech-savvy opposition maintains this was the best they could do.

    I encourage people to read the links in that article for more.

    My impression is things are still better than they were looking at the time of the blackout protest and the prospect of disconnection is quite a bit further down a fairer process. But still some glaring problems.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Figures New Zealand would have a Copyright Tribunal. Run by Mordor no doubt

  11. Exquire says:

    How annoying is it that activists have to sustain a hobby of fighting this stuff, while the other side is prepared to keep throwing money at it till it eventually dies?

    The whole arts world here at the moment is srsly wonky and desperate.

  12. Salvatron says:

    This is mental.

  13. ADavies says:

    Prediction: Laws like this will, at some point in the future in some countries, be used selectively against certain groups of people. (Minorities, political activists, troublesome journalists, etc.)

  14. Chainsaw says:

    Let me get this straight…

    If a case is marginal, it is thrown out or settled before going to court. Of the cases that are solid enough to be taken to court, one-third of them are not guilty.

    And they want to presume guilt anyways, against all modern concepts of justice?

    It’s like telling the police that if they see two criminals together they should shoot the nearest bystander on the odds that they may be a co-conspirator. Well, sorry about that, crime victim, but that’s what you get for hanging around criminals.

    The problem with anon #9 is that I would expect a law this evil to include a “you-can’t-sue-no-matter-what” provision.

    Corporate “rule” is so not straight as to closely resemble a fastener for wood in the shape of a conical helix

  15. angusm says:

    Why can’t we extend this obviously sensible law to other areas? After all, surely the onus should be on car owners to prove that they weren’t speeding or illegally parked (possession of a motor vehicle should be taken as prima facie evidence that they had the means and possibly the motive to commit the crime).

    Similarly, employees should be prepared to offer “valid reasons” to support their claim that they were paid by their employer for performing the activity described in their contract rather than, say, extortion or selling drugs. At tax time, everyone should be able to prove conclusively that they had declared all their income: an inability to demonstrate this to the satisfaction of the tax authorities would be taken as evidence of guilt.

    To prevent possible abuses, presumption of guilt would not be automatic, but would only be made following a complaint from a recognized and impartial authority. For instance, speeding fines for presumed infractions would not be issued unless a police department had first declared that they had grounds to believe that such an infraction had occurred. The department would not, however, be required to reveal their grounds for this belief, as knowledge of police procedure might assist criminals in breaking the law. Counter-assertions to the effect that, for example, the department was facing a budget shortfall and therefore had a material interest in levying bogus fines, will not be considered ‘valid reasons’.

  16. stefrobb says:

    Looks like Warner Bros. had more than one law changed in the deal to keep The Hobbit in New Zealand. I don’t think the timing is a coincidence.

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