The New Zealand Centre for ICT Law

June 21st, 2016 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

A new national cyber-law centre is being set up and its first project is putting the Harmful Digital Communications Act under the microscope.

The New Zealand Centre for ICT Law, which opens next month at Auckland University, aims to provide an expanded legal education for students and provide research and development into the impact electronic technology has on the law.

The centre’s new director, retiring district court Judge David Harvey, said he regarded the centre as a vital hub for both the legal fraternity and the public.

“More and more IT is becoming pervasive throughout our community and it’s providing particular challenges and interesting developments as far as the law is concerned.”

Research was already underway on the effectiveness of the Harmful Digital Communications Act.

Future projects would include digital aspects of the Search and Surveillance Act, Telecommunications Act and Copyright Act.

This is a great initiative and Judge Harvey is the perfect person to head this up. Over the last 20 years the intersection of law and the Internet has only been increasing.

Harvey on copyright

March 26th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Judge David Harvey has blogged a keynote speech he gave to the Australian Digital Alliance Forum on copyright law in the modern era. It’s a fascinating essay on the history of copyright, the changes over time, the balancing of rights etc.

He summarises his own proposal for copyright going forward:

 1. Copyright should not be seen as a property right – either actual or inchoate

 2. A copyright owner’s rights should not be absolute.

 3. Copyright should be seen as an exception to the wider rights of freedom to receive and impart information guaranteed by Art. 19 ICCPR – and, given copyright does not engage until expression (according to current copyright theory),  it must be subject to the supremacy of Article 19.

 4. Interference with Article 19 rights requires justification by the “copyright owner”.[49]

 5. Once interference with the Art 19 right is justified, any restrictions to the general right and any advantages that accrue for the benefit of the “copyright owner” may be permitted to the extent that they are:

a) necessary to meet the copyright owners interests and justification and

b) proportionate in terms of the extent of the interference

 6. Concepts such as fair use, protection term, remedies (and their extent) fall within the tests of necessity and proportionality rather than exceptions to a copyright owner’s right.

 I like the idea of the major right being the right to receive and impart information, and copyright restrictions must fall within this right as justifiable limitations or exceptions. I think that is superior to having copyright as the “major right” and then having to justify exceptions to copyright for purposes of quoting, parody, satire, academic scrutiny etc.

Colbert and Hobbits

December 6th, 2012 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reported:

Stephen Colbert is devoting a full week of his internationally syndicated showThe Colbert Report to The Hobbit.

Colbert, a US comedian, is a rabid JRR Tolkien fan who recently won a cameo role in one of The Hobbit films from director Peter Jackson.

He is taking his commitment to Middle-earth to the next level starting today by celebrating “Hobbit week” on The Colbert Report, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis – who play Gandalf, Bilbo and Gollum – and Jackson will all guest on the show.

McKellen is reportedly first in line to be interviewed.

Colbert visited the set of The Hobbit trilogy during filming.

He reportedly beat film producer and Tolkien expert Philippa Boyens in a Hobbit quiz.

Jackson called him the biggest “Tolkien geek” he had ever met.

Beating Boyens is an impressive feat. We should arrange a play off against Judge David Harvey who won both NZ Mastermind in 1980 and Mastermind International in 1981 on the subject of Lord of the Rings. The questions and answers that were put to him are here.

The Colbert Report gets a million or so viewers. Having The Hobbit and NZ feature on it for a week is great free publicity.