Kiwis Delay Draconian File-Sharing Law

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There has been plenty of comment around the net about the 'guilty-on-accusation' law in New Zealand. Now after a week of online protests that got some 'Quite Interesting' support, the law has been delayed for another month.

blackoutFirst, a quick recap. Last year, the New Zealand government passed 3-strike legislation, aimed at having copyright infringers thrown off the Internet, based only on the accusations of those claiming copyright infringement.

Earlier this month a code of practice was drafted by the copyright holders and ISPs which should outline the manner in which the new Section 92 ‘3 Strikes’ regime should be handled by the ISPs. However, the parties involved couldn’t agree on the content of the code and Prime Minister John Key has just announced that the law has been delayed until a workable solution can be found. If the parties involved can’t reach an agreement, the law might be changed, he noted.

Most of the opposition is worried about the “Guilty Upon Accusation’ part of the law, and rightly so. Regular readers know how shoddy anti-piracy groups are at accurate take-down notices, either they’re for stuff that you can share, never had, or are incapable of having.

Last week, many people blacked out their profile images on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, and today several bloggers announced a blackout of their entire website. The protest is being spearheaded by Creative Freedom, which was formed two months ago in response to this law – and not without success.

The protest caught the eye of many, including some celebrities. Stephen Fry, author of 7 novels, and a prolific screenwriter, actor, and presenter, is supporting the cause. “My picture is blacked out for good reason,” he twittered last week. The Quite Interesting Fry, ranked second most popular by twitterholic, was one of the first to black out his profile picture.

For now the protests have resulted in a delay of the law, perhaps not directly, but we are pretty certain that it would have been in effect already without all the opposition.

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