New Zealand leak: US-style copyright rules are a bad deal

Michael Geist writes in with new leaks relating to the New Zealand government's deep skepticism about US pressure to change its copyright law. The US wants New Zealand to add protection for "technical protection measures" (also called TPMs, DRM, or digital locks). This would follow the US law that makes it illegal to jailbreak an iPad, rip a DVD, or move your Kindle or Sony ebooks to competing devices (interestingly, the US copyright office just suspended the restriction on jailbreaking iPhones for three years, having concluded that the US law that's being pushed in NZ does more harm than good).
New Zealand is one of several countries currently negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, a regional trade deal that the U.S. would like to see include a major chapter on intellectual property. A new leak of the New Zealand government's position on the IP chapter is revealing on several levels, most notably for its criticism of the WIPO Internet treaties and the attempts to limit existing flexibilities on digital locks.

There are several points worth emphasizing. First, NZ is clearly opposed to attempts to establish international norms on digital locks (ie. anti-circumvention legislation), arguing that countries should retain existing flexibilities on TPMs. Second, the NZ government recognizes the shortcomings of relying on digital lock rules, suggesting that the WIPO approach may actually undermine new business models. Third, it expresses doubt about the ability for digital lock rules to promote innovation. These are all positions that have been raised repeatedly within the Canadian context and serve to provide further evidence that support for the treaties is not nearly as widespread as its supporters claim.

NZ Govt Copyright Leak: Doubts Value of WIPO Internet Treaties, Supports Flexible Digital Lock Rules (Thanks, Michael!)


  1. As a New Zealander, if any government was going to bend over for this nonsense, it is definitely this one.

  2. The US is the biggest bully in the playground- as we’ve all known for years- why can’t they just f-ck off and leave the world alone? Respect for the sovereignty of other countries seems to be a concept completely out of the realm of US understanding…

  3. Hi Anon 1.

    As an Orstrayn who has always thought of NZ as Orstraya with a konshes then I lose hope for both of us.

  4. “protection for protection” is a pleonasm and a paradox, and should not find itself in any text of law.

    Such legislation is extremely harmful because it forms a electrolegisoftware contraption where half of the machine is implemented as vague law, and the other half is supplied by an arbitrary private party. This contraption violates the separation of power and contradicts the very meaning of “law” because it is a unified vehicle for arbitrary unknowable rules (made up by private parties), enforcement and prosecution in one step.

  5. Why is this sort of back and forth even secret? It seems to me the public is better served when this kind of diplomatic discussion is held out in the open.

    (But then I guess that’s the point of Wikileaks.)

  6. This must be the USA love of “letting the market figure things out” and allowing “capitalism to control”…

    or wait, not it isn’t… This is the US government being paid to protect certain corporate interests and trying to foist their corruption onto the rest of the world.

  7. The basic thing here is that ever since US consumer production became globalized, the only real exports USA have left is IP and weapons.

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