Pirate Party Australia expresses it concern and disappointment with the passing of ʻthree strikesʼ termination laws by the government of New Zealand.[1] Access to the Internet is a human right — socially, culturally and economically, we rely on the Internet for our day to day discourse. Now the New Zealand government threatens its citizens with disconnection for sharing information knowledge and culture. The circumstances under which the law has been passed raises concerns, and the presumption of guilt raises significant concerns regarding due process.

Internet access is a universal service, similar to postal services, the phone or even electricity or water. In fact several countries, including Finland, Spain, Estonia and Greece have passed laws that enshrine the right to internet access for all citizens. A vast majority of Australian also feel the same way — access is a human right.

“The post office does not stop delivering to your house just because you are suspected of sending photocopies to someone. Yet this is precisely what the New Zealand government are proposing with their Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill. Under the legislation internet users accused of file-sharing three times will be disconnected” said Simon Frew, Acting Secretary.

“The legislation establishes a copyright tribunal which has a ‘presumption of infringement’, i.e. anyone accused of file sharing is automatically assumed to be guilty.[2] This is a flagrant assault on the legal right to be assumed innocent until proven guilty. Anyone could be disconnected at the request of the media industry. This is something that could easily be abused and many innocent people disconnected.” Mr Frew continued. “People living in share houses or large families will be unduly punished as one persons infringement will affect everyone in the household.”

“Sharing is legitimate, and positive. Invariably, as we have seen in Australia, law makers are deceived by industry propaganda that bears no resemblance to reality.[3] Bodies like WIPO have realised that copyright requires fundamental structural reform for it to be considered relevant in the digital paradigm. Strict enforcement of antiquated laws that give respiration to decrepit models of distribution that ignore the consumer are not the way forward.” said Rodney Serkowski, Party President.

“The media industry refuses to adapt to the changing media landscape. They will do whatever it takes to keep operating as they have in the past; including campaigning for a wholesale assault on the civil liberties of the very people they hope to have as an audience. When this legislation fails to stop file-sharing will the media industry start to campaign to close down the entire internet to protect their business models? We already see industry groups like MIPI salivating at the chance to import similar bad laws to Australia,”[4] concluded Simon Frew, Acting Secretary.

[1] http://feeds.beehive.govt.nz/release/new-regime-section-92a-copyright-infringements
[2] http://www.legislation.govt.nz/bill/government/2010/0119/latest/whole.html?search=ts_bill_Copyright+%28Infringing+File+Sharing%29+Amendment+Bill_resel&p=1#tmpn1011a
[3] http://torrentfreak.com/secret-australian-piracy-report-revealed-and-debunked-110316/ ; http://torrentfreak.com/secrecy-and-darkness-surround-mysterious-900mpiracy-report-110314
[4] http://twitter.com/MIPIMusic/statuses/58288533957386240

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