New Zealand's stupid copyright law dies

New Zealand's stupid new copyright law that would cost you your Internet connection if you were accused of copyright infringement three times (without proof of any wrongdoing) is officially dead. Massive, global interest in the law, as well as a series of savvy Internet- and meatspace-protests convinced the government to climb down off the ledge that the American movie and music companies had lured it onto.

"Allowing section 92A to come into force in its current format would not be appropriate given the level of uncertainty around its operation," said Commerce Minister Simon Power in a statement. "These discussions have exposed some aspects of section 92A which require further consideration. While the government remains intent on tackling this problem, the legislation itself needs to be re-examined and reworked to address concerns held by stakeholders and the government…"

Users and ISPs were most concerned that the rules would apparently disconnect even huge businesses after a few employees downloaded illicit files. A high-profile judge raised concerns that the procedure could run afoul of contract law in New Zealand. ISPs weren't keen on disconnecting their own customers for the benefit of one set of industries, and they couldn't believe the law provided no indemnification from lawsuits; the ISP could be sued both by users and rightsholders if they didn't like the way it was handling the three strikes program. And users wanted some form of third-party or judicial arbitration before any Internet disconnection…

As for all those worries about false positives and the quality of evidence? RIANZ has never taken them too seriously, since (like the RIAA) it insists that its detection methodology is basically foolproof. In a recent interview posted on the RIANZ website, CEO Campbell Smith was asked if he would "eat his hat" if music industry copyright notifications turned out to contain numerous errors.

"3 strikes" strikes out in NZ as government yanks law