free markets, free culture

The global copyfight: NZ edition

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Remember when people donated their FB statuses during the election? This is happening on Twitter too, for different causes. Any place where you have a voice that reaches others becomes prime real estate for broadcasting messages.

When my friend Sanford blacked out his photo profile for some internet controversy in New Zealand, I did a quick scan for news.

A crowd of 120 descended on the capital parliament building in New Zealand this week, protesting a law allowing Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to disconnect customers who allegedly infringe on copyright. This ruling, Section 92A, has terms of copyright infringement that are so broad and so vague, protesters want to throw it out.

This NZ blogger raises a few hypothetical situations of “copyright criminals” — such as downloading a full-text newspaper article emailed from a friend, or playing your iTunes so loud that someone on the street could hear your music.

Admittedly, I still don’t “get it.” I don’t truly get why intellectual property law is so hotly debated. So many of us break copyright rules all the time without consequence. On the internet, it’s a cut & paste, copy & remix, kind of world. We do it all the time, without major paranoia and stress about being arrested and sued for millions. I’ve definitely got a learning curve here, to understand why some very smart people devote a lot of time and energy towards this subject.

The New Zealand demonstration was organized by the Creative Freedom Foundation. From their website, looks like a pretty small grassroots organization. In fact it looks like a party of two. Still, that’s two people (self-described artists and technologists) who feel strongly enough about Section 92A to take some action.

(They distributed a CD of their “Copywrong Song” to members of parliament. I took a listen — it’s not a bad rock ditty, but I couldn’t make out the lyrics through the New Zealand accent. No doubt it was an impassioned plea for creative freedom.)

I need to ask Sanford how the “American entertainment giants” are involved with New Zealand’s internet policies…


Written by @hellopanelo

February 21, 2009 at 8:57 pm

Posted in global copyfight

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