Gareth Hughes

Swiss copyright report on time

by Gareth Hughes

The Swiss Government has just completed a new copyright report where the overall conclusion is that the current copyright law, under which downloading copyrighted material for personal use is permitted, doesn’t have to change.

As Cory Doctorow points out “It’s a rare victory for evidence-based policy in a world dominated by shrill assertions of lost jobs and revenue, backed by funny-number “statistics” from industry-commissioned researchers.”

It’s exactly the opposite approach from what New Zealand’s Government has adopted. Our Government didn’t study the problem, didn’t think about encouraging legal alternatives (The Commerce Minister didn’t even know what Netflix was!) and, after US lobbying, passed under urgency the punitive three-strikes ‘Skynet’ law.

Interestingly the report also questions the legality of three-strikes laws after the the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of expression declared such laws to be a breach of human rights.

The new NZ Government should have a read of the Swiss report, listen to the UN and look at terminating the Skynet law in favour of legal alternatives. As research from Germany shows, increasing availability of digital content shows that one can combat internet piracy without infringing basic rights.

Published in Society & Culture by Gareth Hughes on Tue, December 6th, 2011   

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