New Zealand Parliament may lose Internet access due to insane new copyright law

Juha sez, "The New Zealand Green Party says the country's Parliament could face fines and even have its Internet access disconnected, after it passed the draconian copyright law that comes into effect on August 11. Speaker of the House refused to comment on the law, and the Minister in charge of enacting it, Simon Power, claims to not have heard of Netflix or legal file sharing."
"Like Parliament, schools, libraries and universities run the risk of fines or disconnection. Unitec in Auckland has even said they might cease providing internet services for students due to possible copyright liability," said Mr Hughes.

"The Government has a responsibility to ensure that public institutions can navigate around the new law and not run the risk of fines or disconnection.

"By not providing information or advice and relying on InternetNZ, Internet Service Providers, and the media, Mr Power has left schools and universities in a legal grey area."

The Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act was passed through Parliament under urgency earlier this year. Only the Green Party opposed the passage of the law.

This is the copyright law that NZ's cynical media lobbyists rushed through as part of the Christchurch earthquake emergency legislation, using victims of awful tragedy as human shields in their quest to have the ultimate say over who may and may not use the Internet.

Parliament at risk of fines (Thanks, Juha!)


  1. Best legislative comeuppance since U.S. Senators started getting singled out for extra screening after the Patriot Act.

  2. It seems like New Zealand is determined to stifle what little IT industry it had left, compared to the rest of Asia. They must be perfectly happy with the brain-drain to Australia.

  3. Why is New Zealand so concerned over this?  They are acting like this is the biggest issue to ever hit the human race when it is just so minor.

    1. A few years back the whole south island (NZ) lost phone and internet because a rat chewed through the telecom cable at the same time a farmer dug the redundant cable up with his backhoe. We were out telecommunications for three days.  I don’t think they ever did anything to fix the issue.The government was not apologetic, neither was the rat. NZ has the worst internet service, not only slow but very expensive. They like their monopolies.

      1. “The government was not apologetic, neither was the rat.”

        How could you tell which was which?

      1. It’s not entirely trivial, given how the legislation was introduced and at whose behest and for whose benefit.

        But if you want weightier stories then how about thinking on our rather dire domestic violence and child abuse rates, then go google what our prison population is, as proportion of the whole. New Zealand may be mostly lovely and a great place to live but shit happens here too.

  4. I doubt they’ll even get sent a first warning letter. It’d be nice if they do, but their media lobbyists pals aren’t going to want to go after them after they’ve given them free rein to go after any NZ’er with an IP address.

  5. I’m missing background on this- why would Parliament be at risk for losing Internet access? It sounds like the schools are most at risk if Unitec doesn’t want to risk finding out a student might be infringing copyright.

    1. The copyright act has been changed so that ISPs are responsible for its users who perform copyright theft. That means, if ANYONE on said ISP downloads a copyright movie, picture, song etc online and its reported, the ISP could be fined quite a lot of money.

      That being said, the ISPs that run the parliament internet must know for pretty sure that someone is running torrents or some other filesharing service off their connection and as a result are going to drop them (just like schools etc) with feer that they’re going to be fined by the very people its helping to pass the laws.

      1. Thanks for spelling that out for me. Certainly it seems that those most rabid about enforcing copyright have seemed to be caught inadvertently/ignorantly (to give them the benefit of a doubt) violating copyrights.

      2. SimonJ48 – the law change makes ISPs specifically NOT responsible – and the account holder responsible, and that’s part of the problem – because places such as universities, and indeed parliament who are not an ISP, can’t defer the responsibility on to their users. If a student torrents something, their school’s internet account holder is now legally responsible to pay any fine levied against that student. If the disconnection clause passes in another 18 months, it would mean that the school could be disconnected for the actions of their students.

        The other major problem is the presumption of guilt without evidence. The accused has to prove their innocence, and without access to packet traces and a deep understanding of the inner workings of the bittorrent protocol, this could be challenging to say the least.

  6. Sounds to me like they’ve gone and shot themselves in the foot.  Typical politicians: claiming one thing and doing the contradiction.  I wonder if they even realize what they’ve done themselves.

  7. Not having Netflix was actually the context where Netflix came up –  the Minister was asked what he might do to encourage people to get media legally and basically said, nothing.

    The transcript is here


    Parliament would be at risk of being cut off if someone on their network
    was persistently illegally file sharing (someone on reddit says they
    already have) – BUT the minister would have to bring the disconnection
    penalty into force first. As things stand currently it might be a case
    of fines. And I’m not sure whether it would have to be just one person
    on the enormous Parliament network (I’d hope they count as an ISP). Not least because the official
    advice for providers isn’t out yet. Apparently the speaker is
    Parliament’s official account holder.

    In terms of what’s new down here, I was most impressed by the point that the official government info campaign on how ISPs etc should comply is actually going to begin after the date for which notices can be issued.

    1. Little bit more detail in my story for ITNews:,users-try-to-snare-nz-govt-with-own-three-strikes-law.aspx 

      ‘IP lawyer Rick Shera of Auckland firm Lowndes Jordan said if parliamentary IP addresses were linked to illegal file sharing before the Copyright Tribunal, those instances could be aggregated and the account holder fined.Shera said Parliament could be fined under the new law as it amended theCopyright Act 1994, which in section 13 states: “This act binds The Crown”.’

  8. The New Zealand Nazi government rush legislation and never mind thinking first, just so long as National gets control of every persons activities,

  9. Speaker of the House refused to comment on the law, and the Minister in
    charge of enacting it, Simon Power, claims to not have heard of Netflix
    or legal file sharing.

    Sure, that sounds like the kind of thing you’d expect in an open, functioning democracy.  O_o

  10. The current National government, like most governments, are a group of sleazy little Hitlers. Simon Power has made no secret of the fact that he was/is in bed with the media cartels and that he gave them carte blanche to write their own copyright law. What we don’t know yet is how much money changed hands in the process of doing this, or what favors were promised. Predictably Power will exit the parliamentary stage at the end of his current term in late 2011, and leave others to clean up the mess.

  11. With towns carrying names like “Christchurch” what do you expect? Being slaves to US pressure seems pretty logical.

  12. Rats are nice, and generally, in their own way, helpful. Back to the point, though- it looks like the politicians have decided to pass a law without understanding it’s implications- something no politician should ever do. “I don’t understand” is a reason to abstain when the vote comes, if you aren’t going to bother learning.

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