More problems with Skynet

It is becoming more apparent every day that providing legal alternatives to file-sharing would have been more effective, easier and cheaper than the cumbersome, complex and ultimately futile Skynet Law.

Tech Liberty co-founder David Zanetti has blogged that the first few notices issued in New Zealand under the new law do not appear to comply with the legislation and regulations.

Zanetti noted a number of problems with the notices posted to the 3strikes forum such as the description of the type of work alleged to have been infringed, date and time alleged offence occurred and the type of file sharing application used.

It’s concerning that the notices also make the threat of internet suspension despite a select committee ‘compromise’ leaving this up to the Minister of Commerce to decide to enact (he hasn’t yet) oh, and in face of the United Nations asserting that suspension is a breach of human rights.

Orcon spokesperson Quentin Reade told Fairfax NZ News it was “seeking legal clarification on the matter”, and would look at changing the infringement notices they send out if necessary.

This complex and confusing law has so many unanswered questions like these that won’t be resolved till they hit the Copyright Tribunal and possibly even higher courts leaving everyone in limbo.

This law is an absolute mess and won’t even solve the problem. As research from Germany shows, increasing availability of digital content demonstrates one can combat internet piracy without huge costs, a new bureaucracy, and infringing basic rights.


11 Comments Posted

  1. I’ve been getting nasty e-mails from amazon noting that I’m using my UK registered kindle to download ebooks in New Zealand. Oh Noes! Apparently they want to enforce their regional pricing. I guess there are tax issues, but the price differentials in some cases don’t correlate with the tax.

  2. I totally agree Gareth. Ultimately, the old business model is broken – there are no geographic barriers when information travels so fast.

    Why should the consumer have to wait 6 months or a year before TV shows or movies are released here? There are limitations to the NZ network and plans are comparatively expensive (but improving), but no reason to not even try.

    There may be a role for government, and the fibre roll out will help, but we do need to put ourselves out there. We need to say to the industry ‘try us as a testing ground’. We won’t make them gazillions of dollars due to our population size, but we could try out new technologies and distribution methods.

    Let’s face it, torrenting is a great way to distribute data – we need to harness it, not fear it.

  3. the law can’t please everybody to abide the law…no matter punishment they lend on their is always some that do illegal thing as if it is their habit.

  4. Expanding on my previous comment with an example, Amazon lets Kindle users lend a Kindle book once, and once only, for a maximum of 14 days, in all time, and even then only when a publisher’s enabled that “feature”. I don’t know why they even bother—probably to satisfy a demand from a congress person somewhere who was scratching an itch. I could lend the reader to someone, but that’s like lending an entire lifetime’s book collection to a person, all at once, because you think they should read one of your books.

    I still haven’t decided how much I want to use it despite the convenience, but in broader terms I’m just worried about how this type of eBook model will eventually effect things like libraries and people’s general ability to share things around. It’s moving towards a world where large amounts of newly-published information will be held in a small number of giant corporate mega-vaults that are run by businesses which ensure every individual who wants to obtain a licence to read it has to pay what they demand.

    Obviously a similar debate’s been going for much longer with movies and music.

  5. @Amy, which eBook services have you checked out? I don’t seem to have any problems with a Kindle from Amazon, which also provides a variety of non-Kindle tools for reading their eBooks. I’m in Australia right now, but everything I’ve seen suggests they ship and sell eBooks to New Zealand, too. Do they merely provide an ultra-crappy selection of eBooks for non-Americans compared with Americans? At least with my Aussie-registered Kindle, Amazon tells me there are 930,000 books available.

    None of what I’ve said, however, addresses a related concern I have where major eBook providers (like Amazon) are silently yanking away the rights that people have with regular books, like proper freedom for sharing and re-selling, and I expect it’s only a matter of time before publishers start to go eBook only through the major distributors in significant ways.

  6. While you’re at it, can you make Barnes & Noble and the other big e-book companies let me pay for e-books here WITHOUT living in America. I mean, really, do they honestly think that everybody who reads books by American authors lives in America? They won’t even let me enter my credit card without an American Zip code.

  7. I’ve been abiding by the law… but with losing Stratos and soon TVNZ 7, plus television being so atrocious anyway, I’m sorely tempted to download something to watch.

  8. Hey Nick. Check out Farrar’s piece from Toad. It’s something Ive called for, for a while – actual Government leadership to get services like that here in NZ. I think the small domestic market here needs a bit of leadership and stimulus to make it happen. It could be a DVD store, Fatso, a new company that runs it. It’s possible, profitable and desireable. Hell, I’d subscribe!

  9. Cheers, Gareth. This is one of the few issues on which I agree with David Farrar:

    Most New Zealanders want to watch their favourite TV shows as soon as they are available.

    If they are made legally available in a timely fashion, people will pay to get them early. It is when there is no legal way to acquire such a TV show, that so many people turn to torrents on the internet.

    So do you think it would be a good idea for the NZ Government to push for the US to stop US businesses from blocking New Zealanders buying their online content? Would you pay $1/episode for your favourite TV show the day it shows in the US?

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