Is the Dotcom Party democratic enough to be registered?

March 29th, 2014 at 9:15 am by David Farrar

S71 of the states:

Every political party that is for the time being registered under this Part shall ensure that provision is made for participation in the selection of candidates representing the party for election as members of Parliament by—

  • (a)current financial members of the party who are or would be entitled to vote for those candidates at any election; or

  • (b)delegates who have (whether directly or indirectly) in turn been elected or otherwise selected by current financial members of the party; or

  • (c)a combination of the persons or classes of persons referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b).

Now there have been some court cases over this part, and the requirement to be democratic is not specific. It doesn’t rule out a party’s board having a veto on the basis that the board is elected by the members or their delegates.

However having just been reading the Electoral Law in NZ textbook by Andrew Geddis (it was my relaxing reading on the Milford Track – yes seriously!) the requirement does not mean there is no obligation at all, and Russell Brown has provided a quick analysis of the Internet Party rules:

1. There is a special role called ‘party visionary.’ This is defined as Kim Dotcom, or a person selected by Kim Dotcom. THis visionary has the automatic right to sit and vote on the party’s executive and policy committee and cannot be kicked out by the membership.
2. To stand for election to the party’s executive, in addition to being nominated by current members of the party you’ve got to be nominated by a current member of the National Executive. This locks in the incumbents.
3. The party’s executive has nearly unfettered control over the list: they put together an initial list, send it out to the membership to vote on, and then they ultimately decide what the final list should be having regard to the member’s choices.
4. The national executive chooses who stands in what electorate. No local member input at all.
5. The party secretary has a very important role (eg they get to solely arbitrate over disputes; they set out the process for amending the constitution, they decide the process for electing office holders; they’re a voting member of the National Executive). The only problem is they’re legally an employee of the party’s shell company, meaning that it is very hard for the members to exercise democratic control over the secretary (you can’t just fire an employee).
6. On a related note: the way the is structured is so all its assets are kept in a shell company ( Assets Inc), away from the party itself. I don’t know what the purpose of this one was TBH. (the rules of this company were meant to be attached to the constitution in a schedule, but as far as I can see they’re not there)

The full rules are here.

They key thing is the combination of the second and fourth point. The members have no ability to change the National Executive and the Executive selects electorate candidates with no input from members. I believe that the combination of those two aspects raises a serious case for the to consider that the Internet Party does not meet the democratic requirement of S71 of the Electoral Act.

Other parties (including National) have strong National Executives that can have a final say in candidate selections. However those Executives are able to be voted out by the party grassroots if the members are not happy with them.

With the Internet Party, Dotcom effectively appoints the inaugural Executive Committee.  The founders are the inaugural members of the Internet Party Assets Inc.

Clause 8.13.2 requires all nominations to future Executive Committees to be nominated by a member of the current Executive Committee. That means they can block ordinary members standing. It’s not dissimilar to the old politburo elections – anyone can stand as long as you are approved by the current leadership.

So the Electoral Commission may need to determine if the Internet Party is democratic enough to be registered as a political party. It is definitely arguable it is not. Basically the founders can maintain permanent and total control of the party by not agreeing to nominate anyone else to join the Executive Committee. And the Executive Committee makes all the selection decisions.

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64 Responses to “Is the Dotcom Party democratic enough to be registered?”

  1. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    There is a Dotcom Party as well as the Internet Party?

    I wonder which one would get the most votes out of those two?

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  2. Redbaiter (8,882 comments) says:

    Kim Dotcom was the victim of illegal spying authorised by the National Govt. He was also the victim of an illegal over the top raid by jack booted thugs acting as proxies for the FBI who were in turn doing favous for Hollywood’s liberal Obama donors.

    Now KDC is being attacked constantly by bloggers with close ties to the National Party at the same time as these bloggers maintain the National Party was disconnected from the raid and illegal spying.

    Meanwhile John Key golfs in Hawaii with his “good friend” Barack Obama.

    This whole thing has the rotten stench of typically socialist political cronyism and corruption all over it.

    Next stop Venezuela?

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  3. griffith (1,111 comments) says:

    Red blather :lol:

    Way to go El Guava.

    Drop shit and run just like the water woman ….

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  4. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    Just put the interfering, debt-ridden, left-wing mongrel on a plane . . . preferably with his worthless supporters.

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  5. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    Oh my god.

    I gave Redbaiter an uptick.

    Hang on.. there’s someone at the door….

    …It’s alright. It was just that Jew carpenter dude telling me the world ends today.

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  6. RF (1,398 comments) says:

    igm… 9.30 am. Maybe we could convince the fat krauts good friend Redbaiter to carry his bags and depart with him.

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  7. itstricky (1,831 comments) says:

    Having just written a comment on the other post about the 226 failed Obama Birther court filings, I can’t help but think of comparisons to you banging on about this constantly DPF.

    I don’t particularly like the guy, I don’t imagine many citizens will vote for him – time to get over it all and move on. Time consuming side show.

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  8. griffith (1,111 comments) says:

    Is it at all possible to consider the Internet party and its policy directions with out the stench of sour cabbage permeating its creation?…

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  9. Redbaiter (8,882 comments) says:

    Makes no difference to me that KDC is fat or thin, German or Eskimo, rich or poor, left or right, engaging or offensive, I will not be part of any lynch mob and I will always support the rights of the individual over the overreaching too powerful unaccountable state.

    NZ’s security services are there to preserve us from subversion by hostile countries, not to act as policemen for a bunch of progressive Hollywood copyright holders who bought police action by means of their financial support for a crooked cronyist communist illegal immigrant posing as the US president.

    And John Key and his boys should have known that.

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  10. Ben Dover (526 comments) says:

    It is a brilliant piece of Brand and Communication strategy

    He is a Gift to National – Absolute Gift

    We have the “bad guy” with a “mein kampf”

    and we have the good guy “survivor of the holocaust”

    to save us

    look out people fat Natzi

    While we focus on the “bogey man”

    They can camouflage the real game

    which is removal of the Union Jack and worse

    they are using “this” to “legitimise” anything they like

    It is a soap opera good guy – bad guy and victims being saved
    by the bloggers and JK

    Well Done you will fool the sheep – every time

    We need saving

    People are allowed to and Will set up Political Parties
    you may not agree with them – and that is a good thing

    it is not Natzi Germany yet – or is it

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  11. Ben Dover (526 comments) says:

    To get a mandate to remove the Union Jack

    National need a Big Fat Bad Natzi so they can look good

    Everyone can now pretend that National represent the best interests of NZs Future
    and are acting benevolently

    AS THEY ATTEMPT TO
    RIPP THE UNION JACK OFF OUR FLAG
    AND WIPE THEIR BACKSIDES WITH IT

    and STOMP with their little fascist JACK BOOTS
    on What

    Generations of New Zealanders fought and died for

    [DPF: You've ignored previous warnings. Off topic and shouting. 20 demerits]

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  12. jims_whare (403 comments) says:

    The internet party – conceived March 2014, still born Sept 2014.

    Cause of death?

    Non viability of party due to inherent missing chromosomes relating to ethics and coherent political policy.

    Also affected by the presence of a large related parasite whose removal terminated any signs of life

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  13. davidp (3,581 comments) says:

    It is a good thing that the Internet Party has electoral law expert Graeme Edgeler onboard to help them. Just imagine the state of the party constitution if they had written it themselves?

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  14. Keeping Stock (10,340 comments) says:

    Redbaiter said

    Makes no difference to me that KDC is fat or thin, German or Eskimo, rich or poor, left or right, engaging or offensive, I will not be part of any lynch mob and I will always support the rights of the individual over the overreaching too powerful unaccountable state.

    What about the rights of THIS individual RB?

    97. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia expects a victim referred to here as “JM” to testify to the following facts:

    a. JM was the owner and sole employee of a computer software company operated from JM’s home in New Zealand. The software allowed customers to create audio effects through a graphical synthesizer program. JM advertized and sold the software for $69 through an Internet website. Customers located in the United States purchased JM’s software.

    b. JM’s software required users to register the product prior to activation, and JM was able to identify infringing copies of the software by comparing registration information with payment records. Sales of JM’s software increased until the end of 2009, after which they began to drop. JM believed that the drop was due to copyright infringement. During a 5-day period in September of 2009, JM estimated that more than 65% of the software registrations were unpaid, copyright-infringing activations.

    c. In an attempt to combat copyright infringement, JM regularly distributed updates of the software with modified security provisions. Each time JM distributed an updated version of the software, sales would increase slowly and then drop. JM invested significant time into combating copyright infringement, which had a direct impact on his profits.

    d. JM identified approximately 10 to 20 URL links to copyright-infringing versions of the software available on Megaupload.com, and JM submitted takedown requests for those links. JM stated that if the underlying files remained active on Megaupload.com, even if the individual URL links were disabled, then the process was hopeless because JM could not afford legal representation to bring a copyright-infringement lawsuit.

    Page 107 – http://www.scribd.com/doc/192754949/Mega-Evidence

    You see Red, it’s not just Hollywood that Dotcom and his alleged co-conspirators are alleged to have ripped off. “JM” was a small-time New Zealand computer programmer trying to make an honest buck from writing software. I would have thought that he would be the very kind of person you would stick up for, given that you profess to be all about the freedom of the individual, and people getting ahead by virtue of their own endeavours?

    How many other JM’s are there; small-time self-employed people, without the mega-bucks to take on Dotcom and his cronies through a lawyer? I believe that what Megaupload was doing was fundamentally dishonest, and I will not resile from that.

    Kim Dotcom is an internet bully, with a very chequered history of dishonesty. Don’t expect me to back him, even if the New Zealand authorities got carried away when they raided his house. The Court of Appeal though has found that the warrants that underpinned the search were legal – http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/236621/dotcom-search-warrant-ruling-overturned

    Dotcom is trying to leverage the political process to prevent his extradition. I’m surprised that someone as perceptive as you can’t see that.

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  15. jims_whare (403 comments) says:

    I wonder if Edgeler changed the draft copy that referred to ‘My leader’ and changed it to ‘Party Visionary’?

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  16. Than (473 comments) says:

    Who decided on the term “party visionary”? That is a ridiculously pompous title. I have seen worse, but only in oppresive dictatorships and/or because of translation issues. If Dotcom can wear that title with a straight face it show how overinflated his ego is.

    The position of “party visionary” proves that anybody claiming the Internet Party can distance itself from Dotcom is simply wrong. The party’s constitution is literally written around him.

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  17. Redbaiter (8,882 comments) says:

    “I’m surprised that someone as perceptive as you can’t see that.”

    I can see it. I don’t blame anyone for not wanting to be forcibly returned to the US for (going by what has occurred so far) what will be a kangaroo court trial.

    The Nats could have prevented all of this by merely doing the right thing and NOT AUTHORISED THE THUG RAID ON A NZ RESIDENTS HOUSE. Now they reap what they sow for this mistake and are compunding it by whipping up hysteria and hatred for someone who is the victim of their bungling incompetence and their failure to stand by their principles and their bad judgement.

    As for copyright, its a private contractual issue, not a police issue and certainly not a security issue.

    It is completely wrong to use police and govts to enforce civil contracts (unless some judgment has previously been awarded in a civil court.)

    The infringements upon civil rights resulting from attempts to do this should be warning enough of how wrong it is.

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  18. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    ‘a crooked cronyist communist illegal immigrant posing as the US president’
    Nice to see Reddy’s still taking the birther pills.

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  19. davidp (3,581 comments) says:

    Than>Who decided on the term “party visionary”? That is a ridiculously pompous title. I have seen worse, but only in oppresive dictatorships and/or because of translation issues. If Dotcom can wear that title with a straight face it show how overinflated his ego is.

    It’s the sort of pompous title used by:

    Kim Il Sung
    Kim Jong Il
    Kim Jong Eun
    Kim Dot Com

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  20. thedavincimode (6,759 comments) says:

    As for copyright, its a private contractual issue

    Seems like ignorance is still bliss there redtweeter. You’ve snuck back yet again – did you forget to take yet another of your bails when you stomped off?

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  21. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ Keeping Stock (9,737 comments) says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 10:29 am

    Oh cry me a river! Here we have someone with enough smarts and dollars to build a product, for which there is a means, albeit an expensive one, to protect his product from being pirated, but he doesn’t, because that would ruin his profit. SO his product is pirated, put on a site which has clear signs that pirated materials should not put stored on the site… but being the type of world we live in, if someone can, they will.

    and now he’s complaining because he didn’t make enough money to take the person owning the site to Court?

    He didn’t make enough money because he acted unwisely, and greedily, and didn’t spend what was necessary to protect his product in the first place. Like it or not there are dishonest people in society, and someone will always be ready to steal what you have. It shouldn’t be that way, but sadly it is. This guy is a fool, and a fool and their money or product are easily parted.

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  22. Colville (2,268 comments) says:

    Judith @ 11.01.

    Wow. A new low for you. Quite incredible.

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  23. thedavincimode (6,759 comments) says:

    Hmmm. The old “don’t blame the burglar, blame the homeowner for not locking the doors” theory.

    Commonly held in certain quarters

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  24. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    thedavincimode (6,063 comments) says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 11:11 am

    It’s being realistic. The burglar and other low lifes are going to exist, like it or not. Society has deteriorated to the degree that people must protect themselves.

    Haven’t I read on here comments regarding young girls wandering around the streets at night, deserving what they get? How is that any different. If you take risks and don’t protect yourself, then you are going to get ‘hurt’ in this day and age. Its a fact, its reality, and twisting it to pretend it is anything else but, is stupid.

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  25. Keeping Stock (10,340 comments) says:

    I’m glad you have conceded that those running Megaupload were dishonest Judith. There’s hope for you yet ;-)

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  26. thedavincimode (6,759 comments) says:

    This was good too:

    The Nats could have prevented all of this by merely doing the right thing and NOT AUTHORISED THE THUG RAID ON A NZ RESIDENTS HOUSE

    I can see it all now: Key, English, Joyce, Collins, Tolley, maybe even Goodfellow, all gathered around the cabinet war table in the concrete bunker under the beehive as watching the live feed of the raid.

    Perhaps redtweeter is confusing his own Stalinist agenda for this country with the way the police operations are currently authorised and conducted.

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  27. Redbaiter (8,882 comments) says:

    Slander is not a police issue.

    Libel is not a police issue.

    Breach of contract is not a police issue.

    The only time such matters demand police involvement is after damages have been awarded in a CIVIL court and the defendant has failed to cough up.

    Copyright infringement should follow the same path. It is only because big spending Hollywood donors have bought politicians that it doesn’t.

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  28. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ Keeping Stock (9,738 comments) says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 11:15 am

    Of course it was dishonest. Anyone running such a site knows damn well people are going to put illegal stuff on there. But I believe they covered themselves legally with their warnings (now we all know the degenerative condition of ‘legal’ in such circumstances, but it existed, so it is what it is).

    It’s all just greed, but on both sides. One wants the profits for doing very little, and the other does very little to protect their profits.

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  29. thedavincimode (6,759 comments) says:

    Haven’t I read on here comments regarding young girls wandering around the streets at night, deserving what they get? How is that any different.

    I expect you have. I know I have. So what is your point? Or are you just on the verge of another non sequitur melt down?

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  30. griffith (1,111 comments) says:

    Hes staying around tdvm

    Goodie goodie redbalther melt down on the horizon.

    I am off to stock up on popcorn :lol:

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  31. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    thedavincimode (6,065 comments) says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 11:18 am

    My point is, and I’m sure you got it, but I’ll clarify it, if one group is expected to protect themselves against criminal activity, then why shouldn’t the same apply to everyone. You can’t pick and choose and say young girls that wander the streets don’t protect themselves and therefore deserve what they get, and then say producers who can, but don’t protect their product, don’t deserve what they get. That is a double standard!

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  32. thedavincimode (6,759 comments) says:

    grieffy

    This is the new improved model. Clearly been off working hard on the self-discipline with a view to slithering back into the sandpit and pretending that he was there all the time and hadn’t stomped off home with his toys. Very funny, but like you I’m a bit sceptical about how long it will last. Poor thing must have just found it too lonely with nobody to talk to.

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  33. nasska (11,510 comments) says:

    It can’t last Davinci…..give it a week & he’ll crack. :)

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  34. queenstfarmer (782 comments) says:

    @Redbaiter:

    As for copyright, its a private contractual issue, not a police issue

    Incorrect. Mass infringement of copyright is a crime in many countries, including NZ and US. Has been for decades. I suggest you learn the basics of a topic before commenting on it.

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  35. Redbaiter (8,882 comments) says:

    Judith, Grief, Davaselinemode & Narsekissa.

    FFS..!!!

    Thanks for the reminder folks.

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  36. thedavincimode (6,759 comments) says:

    You can’t pick and choose and say young girls that wander the streets don’t protect themselves and therefore deserve what they get, and then say producers who can, but don’t protect their product, don’t deserve what they get. That is a double standard!

    Correct. So why your 11.01 am?

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  37. Keeping Stock (10,340 comments) says:

    Redbaiter said

    As for copyright, its a private contractual issue, not a police issue and certainly not a security issue.

    Freddie Junior Higgins might have a different opinion to yours Red:

    Mr Freddie Junior Higgins, of Auckland, was today sentenced to 300 hours of community service for stealing a pre-production copy of the New Zealand made hit movie “Sione’s Wedding”.

    Speaking after the sentencing, “Sione’s Wedding” Producer and Chief Executive of South Pacific Pictures, John Barnett, said, “The significant issue was the Court’s determination that he was guilty of theft. Clearly he does not have the resources to make good the damage that has been done, and in this case, a prison term would not be appropriate, given the particular circumstances. However, he has paid a very high price at a personal level. There is no question that this case has raised the public awareness of the massive cost of piracy to the community as a whole.”

    Tony Eaton, Executive Director of the New Zealand Federation Against Copyright Theft (NZFACT) said, “This is the first time a New Zealander has been convicted of stealing a pre-production version of a movie. The creative endeavours of New Zealand’s filmmakers require an immense commitment of time and money, but all this is under threat unless the copyright in the creative content can be protected. Movie pirates will continue to be prosecuted wherever we find
    them.”

    While “Sione’s Wedding” went on to record the biggest opening weekend of any New Zealand film, ahead of “Whale Rider” and “The World’s Fastest Indian”, Barnett estimates that the pirated copies cost an estimated $300,000 in lost box office returns to the company and a further $200,000 in DVD sales.

    38-year-old Higgins, who worked as an employee of the post production house Digital Post Limited, was found guilty under The Crimes Act of two Theft charges relating to the theft of a blank DVD disc and a “submaster” copy that contained the hit movie “Sione’s Wedding”. Higgins was also convicted under the Copyright Act of the distribution of the submaster copy of “Sione’s Wedding”

    http://www.nzfact.co.nz/press_releases/Release_18July.pdf

    Copyright infringement of the nature of that alleged against Dotcom and his alleged co-conspirators is theft, plain and simple.

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  38. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    I see Reddy has switched over to abuse mode. Stand by…

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  39. thedavincimode (6,759 comments) says:

    Ahh, the planet has returned to its axis. Normal transmission has resumed. I have to say that I gave the old queen far too much credit. I thought he would last longer than this.

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  40. Keeping Stock (10,340 comments) says:

    @ davincimode (11.27am) – you spoke seven minutes too soon :D

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  41. thedavincimode (6,759 comments) says:

    I suggest you learn the basics of a topic before commenting on it.

    queenstfarmer

    In defence of the lonely old git, it must be said that if that was the threshold for commenting here, there wouldn’t be any comments.

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  42. Redbaiter (8,882 comments) says:

    “Copyright infringement of the nature of that alleged against Dotcom and his alleged co-conspirators is theft, plain and simple.”

    It is not and it is far from plain and simple. The court was wrong and the law should be junked.

    The law only exists because of the influence of wealthy distributors. If it wasn’t for their money and the political influence they have bought with it it would not be law.

    What is plain and simple is that this is extremely bad law.

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  43. queenstfarmer (782 comments) says:

    @Judith

    He didn’t make enough money because he acted unwisely, and greedily, and didn’t spend what was necessary to protect his product in the first place.

    So if I break in to your house and steal your things, it will be all your fault because you “unwisely, and greedily” didn’t pay for a high-end alarm system, steel bars on windows, 24/7 video monitoring, and an on-site security guard.

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  44. thedavincimode (6,759 comments) says:

    queenstreetfarmer

    That is the nub of Nursey’s argument. In support of that view she appears to cite comments to the effect that it is the fault of girls who dress and act like slappers if they get raped.

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  45. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ queenstfarmer (670 comments) says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 11:44 am

    My house has never been broken into, despite both my neighbours having been, more than once.

    My house has never been broken into because I have taken steps to protect my possessions in a way that deters the criminal element – feel free to try though! ;-)

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  46. stateless (9 comments) says:

    @queenstfarmer if judith put all their belongings on the sidewalk unprotected then yes, otherwise no.

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  47. thedavincimode (6,759 comments) says:

    redragger

    Your view on this is quite understandable given the lack of creativity reflected in your twenty odd thousand repetitive/recycled comments here and the fact that you compensate for your lack of inspiration by leaning heavily on mad hatter survivalist and wingnut sites.

    However, if originality and innovation was not afforded a degree of protection, there would be substantially less of it because the market forces that drive much of it or fund its commercialisation would cease to exist. For example, the movie would cease to exist (not that I’m suggesting that would be a bad thing).

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  48. Redbaiter (8,882 comments) says:

    The Libertarians can deal with that load of worthless drivel.

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  49. queenstfarmer (782 comments) says:

    @Judith

    I’m glad you haven’t been burgled (neither have I). But do you consider your neighbours to be “unwise and greedy” because they have been? If your car is stolen next time you park it in a carpark, will you consider yourself “unwise and greedy”? If someone snatches your purse (or say your elderly beloved aunt’s purse), would you castigate them for not having it padlocked to your arm?

    Because that’s what you’re saying about a small NZ business owner who had his property stolen. And just because virtual property is easier to steal, can you explain why that makes it ok and the owner “unwise and greedy” for not somehow (how?) stopping it being stolen?

    How far does your “blame the victim” philosophy go?

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  50. Liam Hehir (125 comments) says:

    Copyright infringement of the nature of that alleged against Dotcom and his alleged co-conspirators is theft, plain and simple.

    I am sorry, but that is incorrect. You don’t ‘steal’ copyright, you infringe it. When you make an unauthorised copy of something, you do not have the intention of permanently depriving the owner of the use of the thing being copied. Part of the problem here is that while the term “intellectual property” has strongly set in, it is really referring to an “intellectual monopoly” – rather than true property which is capable of being stolen or converted.

    A good way to think about the distinction is to imagine if both the Crimes Act 1961 and the Copyright Act 1994 were to be repealed. Theft would still be immoral and illegal because it would be a violation of (natural) common law rights. However, there would be no copyright because that concept is an artefact of Parliament.

    Which is not to say that copyright laws do not exist for good reason. It is not simply a civil matter because copyright infringement is also an offence. While those laws are on the books it is wrong to break them – and it is a legitimate function of the government to seek enforcement of the same.

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  51. stateless (9 comments) says:

    @queenstfarm I really don’t think its about blaming the victim, its about what crimes as a society do we wish to pay the enforcement of with police powers, personally I would prefer to see all the violent people locked up before the digital media copying people.

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  52. Keeping Stock (10,340 comments) says:

    The court was wrong and the law should be junked.

    Ah; so it’s Redbaiter QC now, is it?

    You go on and on about the founding principles of the National Party Red. One of them is this: to safeguard individual rights and the privilege of ownership

    I would have thought that individuals or companies have an absolute right to profit from their own creative endeavours without them being stolen away. That’s certainly how I would interpret (as a mere bush lawyer, who hasn’t taken silk like your good self) “individual rights and the privilege of ownership”.

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  53. Redbaiter (8,882 comments) says:

    The National party under John Key are a bunch of politically superficial swinging dicks. The don’t know about Dialectic Marxism or their founding principles as established by Sid Holland or the importance of small government low taxes and liberty.

    They’re frauds plain and simple, and they got themselves into this mess with KDC because they’re frauds. No opposition to the left they’re just Helen Klarks fifth term govt.

    The new political party NZ needs is the one that states a clear intent to rescue this the country from far left racist mire it is bogged down in right now.

    And we only need that new party because National has so weakly and gutlessly surrendered.

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  54. Liam Hehir (125 comments) says:

    I would have thought that individuals or companies have an absolute right to profit from their own creative endeavours without them being stolen away.

    That’s not correct either. There is nothing absolute about that right. It is an expressly limited right created by Parliament and justified only as a utilitarian measure to promote the arts (and science, in the case of patents).

    For example, if you to undertake an analysis and determine that the optimal term of copyright should be 28 years for all future creations, then you wouldn’t be ‘stealing’ anything from the creator.

    But as I said earlier, it is a legitimate function of government to set and enforce terms of copyright,

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  55. queenstfarmer (782 comments) says:

    @stateless, I want the police to prosecute all crimes for which there are reasonable grounds for prosecution. Just because they haven’t got (to use your phrase) “all the violent people locked up” (which is impossible, of course) doesn’t mean they can decide to waive all other criminal offences.

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  56. ShawnLH (5,063 comments) says:

    “As for copyright, its a private contractual issue, not a police issue”

    That makes no sense. Private contracts have to be upheld by the rule of law. Breach of contract can become a police/courts issue. This is true even in a libertarian society.

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  57. Liam Hehir (125 comments) says:

    That makes no sense. Private contracts have to be upheld by the rule of law.

    It makes a certain amount of sense. Private contracts should be upheld by the court but those accused of breach of contract should not be arrested and deprived of their liberty prior to trial. Good luck getting an extradition to compel a respondent to attend a hearing.

    However, this is not a matter of private contract. It is a matter of breach of copyright – which gives rise to non-contractual remedies and is also an offence against the state.

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  58. ShawnLH (5,063 comments) says:

    “It makes a certain amount of sense. Private contracts should be upheld by the court but those accused of breach of contract should not be arrested and deprived of their liberty prior to trial”

    Ok, I understand that.

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  59. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,903 comments) says:

    I think you might find those rules came from ‘Mein Kampf.’

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  60. Paulus (2,627 comments) says:

    What happens when DotCrim is extradited in say August, before the election ?
    Quo Vadimus IT Party

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  61. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    So the Electoral Commission may need to determine if the Internet Party is democratic enough to be registered as a political party.

    No. It won’t. Complying with s.71 is not a pre-requisite for registration, and the Electoral Commission legally could not refuse to register the Party even if its selection policies fail the “democratic procedures” test.

    As my book notes, the only way s.71 can be enforced is by a party member or prospective candidate challenging the issue in court. Perhaps you should join up and foment some happy mischief?

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  62. Scott1 (552 comments) says:

    In addition to Liam’s point above.
    The main case against Dotcom is not that he infringed peoples copyrights – it is that he built a system that intentionally facilitates others to do that. So he is not Freddie Junior Higgins, he is instead the equivalent of the CEO of one of the firms that manufactured dual cassette decks.

    For what it is worth, I understand that the length of copyright is likely to be too long according to academic studies.

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  63. Yoza (1,873 comments) says:

    Copyright law, like the ability of political parties in New Zealand to register without regard to their internal democratic process, is determined by the financial prowess of their proprietors. Intellectual property rights are incredibly expensive to enforce, the Viacom/YouTube-Google dust up cost each of the protagonists an estimated $100 million in legal fees. Similarly, the hierarchy of any New Zealand registered political party would live and die on their ability to defend their party’s constitution against the capacity of a disgruntled member to litigate against them through the judicial system. Although in both instances the aggrieved party must have some grounds on which to base their case, those who can afford to spend the most on legal representation will generally succeed.

    Anyone who produces something, that can be copied digitally, for sale in today’s marketplace is being naive if they think no-one will attempt to illegitimately profit from their efforts. Regardless of what you believe, piracy is a fact of life in the contemporary digital environment, your efforts to protect your intellectual property cannot exceed your ability to profit from that enterprise. Similarly, joining a political party requires the person joining to have some awareness of the internal mechanism of that party, because democracy has become such a vague concept in the modern day vernacular (just ask the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) just about any political body reflexively defines itself as democratic.

    Every institution in every hierarchical society is either designed or corrupted to serve the interests of the powerful, the judicial system and the political process are not exceptions.

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  64. Andrew McMillan (50 comments) says:

    DFP, with a bit of inside information, you could have written another post entitled “Is United Future undemocratic enough to be de-registered?” as UF operates in a similar manner to the Internet Party’s rules.

    – Candidates and the List are seemingly determined by the Board. (There’s little transparency here and no published rules for determining the list. Certainly party members don’t get a say)

    – Board members are asked if they’d like to resign and if not then they get to stay on (it’s not in their rules but that’s how it works)

    – Only members physically attending the AGM can vote for new Board members (again, it’s not necessarily in their rules but that’s how it works)

    Ultimately I see United Future’s lack of professionalism at the leadership level (both Board and Party Leader) as being responsible for the party being able to gain no credibility or traction. It’s the reason why I left the party earlier this year.

    And that’s the same issue the Internet Party will face, a lack of democracy, accountability and professionalism at the leadership level will in time destroy their party, even if it does get registered and eventually into parliament.

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