In 2008, the New Zealand government passed ‘3-strike’ legislation which was designed to have alleged copyright infringers disconnected from the Internet. Last month a code of practice was drafted by the music industry and ISPs which attempted to formalize how ISPs would go about disconnecting people.
However, after much discussion between the parties and outrage in the Internet community, no agreement was reached in the time frame allocated, and Prime Minister John Key announced that the law would be delayed while a solution was found.
Today things have gone stage further. As it became clear that an agreement on a code of practice would not be reached even with a delay, the New Zealand government has scrapped the controversial Section 92A legislation.
“Cabinet today decided that section 92A of the Copyright Act 1994 will not come into force on 27 March as scheduled, but will be amended to address areas of concern,” said Minister for Commerce, Simon Power. “Allowing Section 92A to come into force in its current format would not be appropriate given the level of uncertainty around its operation,” he added.
Prime Minister John Key said that although some progress was made between the entertainment industries and ISPs, there was not enough common ground to reach agreement.
“Section 92A is not going to come into force as originally written. We have now asked the minister of commerce [Simon Power] to start work on a replacement section,” Key said.
Back in February, InternetNZ, the non-profit group responsible for protecting and promoting the Internet in New Zealand, called Section 92A “faulty” and “disproportionate and unfit for purpose” but today they are breathing a sigh of relief.
“Terminating an Internet account was always a disproportionate response to copyright infringement and to force ISPs and other organizations to be copyright judges and policemen was never an acceptable situation,” said InternetNZ executive chairman, Keith Davidson.
The question now remains – will Section 92A be rewritten completely, or will the government stick a couple of Band-Aids on it and hope for the best? Time will tell…