S92a: A return to the bad old days?

Update: the blackout protest campaign, spurred by Juha’s post (among others), has caught on with Twitter top users @stephenfry and @leolaporte blacking out their avatars in support. Below is my take on S92a and why we are protesting.

SheriffBadge2 They say the Internet is the new frontier. Like the Wild West of old: loosely regulated, fast moving, and slightly anarchic. The Internet and the frontier west seem to match up anecdotally as well, with piles of optimism and some serious commercial opportunities.

One downside of life on the frontier ? if you believe what you see in the movies ? is that you were more likely than not to be shot dead at the mere accusation of skulduggery. If you couldn?t get the lawmakers to respond, why not deal with the issue yourself?

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“Rustling became so prevalent for a time that ranchers adopted and organized the [?] means of combating the menace. It became necessary for the ranchers to deal directly with the rustlers, because the law enforcement officals were not meeting the menace and depredations of the rustlers. In some instances the officals were coreced into refraining from adequately, dealing with the stealing and in a few instances the officals were involved with the rustlers.

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Luckily sanity prevails most of the time these days. The presumption of innocence goes a long way to eradicating the kangaroo court, and providing the accused with a forum to defend oneself. I doubt you?d find anyone willing to return to the bad old days.

Yet this is just what Section 92(a) of the New Zealand Copyright Act is proposing. Rights-holders are compaining that “law enforcement officals [are] not meeting the menace and depredations of the rustlers”. So the answer is to give the ranchers guns, and set them loose on the public. God forbid they happen to spot someone wandering along the fenceline and draw a bead on them. Even as late as this week, the ranchers recording industry are baulking at the idea of even allowing a moderating committee of ISPs to help implement the law. As it stands, the mere accusation of copyright infringement is enough to have someone disconnected from the internet.

You have to feel sorry for the poor ranchers back in the day. A horse or cow was a valuable beast (and still is), and the physical loss must have been crippling. The modern day bit-rancher on the other hand, is laughing all the way to the bank, and yet screaming WOLF at the top of his lungs throughout the journey.

Enough is enough. Join the Blackout.

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