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New Zealand residents' Internet could be cut if accused of piracy

By Holly Goodwin     May 4, 2011 in Internet
Starting on September 1st, 2011 residents of New Zealand can be disconnected from their Internet for six months if they’re charged with pirating thanks to the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act 2010.
The measures are meant to be a deterrent to would-be pirates and the government page mentions that there would be a number of notices and warnings sent out, the suggested amount being three, but if the person continues copyright infringement then the copyright owners have the ability to discontinue his or her Internet service for up to six months. Critics argue that Internet suspension is too harsh of a punishment when compared to the actual damage done by copyright infringement and that Internet access is a human right, or at least a necessary communication tool. Others critics state that Internet suspension simply won’t work and accuse the government of trying to sneak the bill in with the emergency Christchurch earthquake relief legislation.
The government is considering giving exemptions to libraries or universities since they cannot control everyone who uses their Internet.
In 2009 the New Zealand government had tried to introduce a similar bill where Internet service could be allegedly discontinued if someone was simply accused of copyright infringement. There were petitions on parliament grounds and web blackouts as a backlash to the bill. A web blackout is when web pages are taken down by the owner as a form of protest such as seen here. Other users changed their avatars to black blocks in honor of the blackout to symbolize what opponents to the bill regard as guilt by accusation. A petition by Creative Freedom Foundation NZ gained 17,000 signatures. Their current webpage discusses the updated bill but also still has writing on the one from 2009. Due to the amount of protests done the original bill 92A had not been brought into force.
More about New Zealand, Internet, Piracy, Copyright infringment, bill 92A
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