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New Zealand plans DMCA-like legislation
December 6, 2006 11:27 PM   Subscribe

New Zealand may soon implement legislation very similar to the DMCA, if the latest draft of the Copyright Amendment Bill is passed. It would appear that the New Zealand government is about to make the same mistake made by the USA several years ago. Most specifically, they propose:
[To] introduce an offence (carrying a sentence of a fine not exceeding $150,000 or a term of imprisonment of up to 5 years, or both) for commercial dealing in devices, services, or information designed to circumvent technological protection measures
Her contact details are available online. We have a small window of opportunity to point out the problems and unintended consequences with similar legislation in other countries, and hopefully circumvent the same problems in New Zealand.
posted by pivotal (17 comments total)

 
You know, you're not likely to be forgiven for the self-link.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:49 PM on December 6, 2006


I debated it with myself for a while, but in these things I find people are so much more likely to act when given a starting point. If I'm crucified for it then so be it.
posted by pivotal at 11:55 PM on December 6, 2006


If I'm crucified for it then so be it.

When we get to the part where we throw lots for his clothes, I'm in.
posted by three blind mice at 12:06 AM on December 7, 2006


This post follows the same written formula as the hundreds of other political appeals I receive in email every year. If this post were transplanted into an email, I could not tell that it began life at MetaFilter.

Where are links to controversial tidbits about the bill? Links to the legal timeline of the battle?

Where are the random personal factoids about the various representatives involved?

Where are the debates about the economic impact?

This post could have been so much, but ended up being so little.

(Some credit due to pivotal for clearly stating that it's a self-link.)
posted by crysflame at 12:21 AM on December 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


The bill was only introduced two days ago, so this must be a first reading -- it'll have to go through committee before anything else happens. It may well fade into obscurity like so many other fledgling bills.

A slightly more readable .pdf of the Copyright (New Technologies and Performers' Rights) Amendment Bill is linked here. I find it interesting that it apparently allows decompilation, copying and altering of software and trumps any "contractual term or condition" (see page 11 in the .pdf).

There's no drama, no battle, it's overshadowed like most parliamentary procedure currently by the Fiji coup attempt and whether NZ should ban Fiji from the rugby sevens tournament next February.
posted by tracicle at 12:31 AM on December 7, 2006


How would this affect the fact that as of now, all DVD players in NZ are suposed to be region-free? Isn't that circumventing electronic protection?
posted by jb at 4:43 AM on December 7, 2006


(maybe I'm wrong about the DVD players, but people have told me so, and my NZ roommate just sent a British DVD home for Christmas).
posted by jb at 4:44 AM on December 7, 2006


MeTa.
posted by eriko at 5:36 AM on December 7, 2006


three blind mice: "When we get to the part where we throw lots for his clothes, I'm in."

We should start giving a self-link detective reward. Thirty pieces of silver!
posted by Plutor at 6:03 AM on December 7, 2006


[I removed the self-link - put it in your profile if you want people to see it.]
posted by jessamyn at 7:02 AM on December 7, 2006


It's funny how many countries hold off on such policies until it has proven to be a useless failure in the US -- and *then* they adopt them. Because somehow it's logical to do the same thing, while expecting different results.

Is this just insanity on the part of the politicians involved? Is it outright bribery? Surely DMCA-like legislations can not stand on their own merits. The recording industry in the US doesn't seem to think it works, because its adoption hasn't led to any lessening of their constant whining and complaining about how software pirates are driving them out of business (which bears scant resemblance to reality, but that doesn't stop the **AAs of the world).
posted by clevershark at 7:13 AM on December 7, 2006


Well there is a huge diffrence between the proposed NZ law and the US law, where in the NZ law prohibits devices from being 'commercially distributed', and the US law just says you can't distribute them at all...
posted by delmoi at 7:27 AM on December 7, 2006


Now that the Apple iTMS has now finally opened in New Zealand, all our iPod owners are now able to put music on them, what with our current laws making it illegal to format-shift.

I wonder what all the lemmings have been listening to all this time.
posted by bruzie at 9:34 AM on December 7, 2006


"I wonder what all the lemmings have been listening to all this time."

Substitute "music executives" for "lemmings" and you get an idea of how ridiculous the situation is.
posted by John Shaft at 12:41 PM on December 7, 2006


Synthetic Thoughts has some good comments on this, from a NZ perspective. Seems to me that Cory D is somewhat overstating the negative side of this legislation, and ignoring some positives (e.g. legalising format-shifting for personal use, amending laws that technically made viewing a webpage an infringement of copyright).

This is nothing new, btw - these changes were proposed years ago (2002 maybe) and are only just being introduced.
posted by Infinite Jest at 2:03 PM on December 7, 2006


Jest, if I understand correctly, the anti-circumvention stuff is very new, only added in the most recently tabled version. In fact the MED position paper of 2002 specifically stated they intended to be hands-off on circumvention.

The format-shifting stuff has been on the cards since 2002.
posted by pivotal at 3:14 PM on December 7, 2006


clevershark:

It's funny how many countries hold off on such policies until it has proven to be a useless failure in the US -- and *then* they adopt them. Because somehow it's logical to do the same thing, while expecting different results.


I'm of the understanding that the USA applies a lot of arm-twisting pressure to both the UN and other countries to "make these changes to your 'outdated' copyright laws" with various hints/threats that relations will suffer if this is not done, and/or various impediments to trade implemented, because not bringing your laws "into line with the rest of the world (ie the USA)" will "endanger" important US industries.

Plus, those same politicians in various countries have their own local recording industry shills assuring them that the economic world will end if DRM isn't backed with criminal penalties similar to murder.

Who is giving them the full picture about how momumentally stupid it would be to follow the US down the road to disaster that is the DMCA? Probably few, if any.

Hell, even in the USA, the DMCA looks like a great success to the people who built it - the unintended consequences are hitting industries (security, printer manufacturing, etc) they're not related too, doing damage that is out of their sight. As far as their myopic little self-interested eyes can see, the DMCA was a good move.
posted by -harlequin- at 5:38 PM on December 7, 2006


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