I blogged a few days ago, quoting Colin Jackson who attended a meeting with Judith Tizard to discuss concerns over the new copyright law. The law requires ISPs to terminate Internet access to repeat copyright infringers, and there is a push on for this to mean those merely accused of copyright infringement, as opposed to those convicted of doing so.
Judith Tizard spent 30 minutes telling us why the change had to be made. She began by strongly expressing her anger that we had complained to her at this stage in the proceedings. None of us, she said, had been to see her before this on this topic. When we protested that we had worked with the Select Committee, which had removed this provision – and balanced it with one which made licence holders liable for false accusations – she said that this was completely inappropriate of the Select Committee, because Cabinet had already decided this was going ahead. We should not have been surprised, we were told, that this provision was reinserted by the government at the last minute before the bill was passed.
Now this story has been picked up on other blogs, including Boing Boing. Boing Boing is one of the top ten blogs in the world for readership. Millions of people read it. And this is what they have just read:
New Zealand’s copyright minister starts screaming when asked whether it’s fair to cut people off from the Internet on the basis of three unsubstantiated accusations of copyright infringement.
Boing Boing further note:
Of all the unreasonable and awful proposals to come out of the entertainment industry, none is so bad as the three-strikes rule, a rule that would leave everyday people vulnerable to having the connection that brings them freedom of speech, of assembly and the press, the link that connects them to family, school, work and government, terminated because someone, somewhere made three accusations of copyright infringement, without having to offer a shred of evidence.
What I found most interesting what as the viewpoint from Judith that it was “inappropriate” for a select committee to make changes to a bill which differ from what Cabinet agreed to. This is a novel way of looking at the role of Parliament.