Curran’s Copyright Ideas

Clare Curran floats four ideas:

Education about copyright is very important. Government has an important role to play and copyright education should become a part of the school curriculum and be integrated right through our education system. A public education campaign is also needed for people to understand that protecting the rights of people who create content is important.

I’ve got no problem with that per se, but would caution that education campaigns can become own goals. The nasty messages that get played at the start of videos usually result in derisory laughs.

When consumers can easily and reasonably purchase all the films, TV shows and music they want legally online, then an education campaign on why people should only do legal downloads etc would be useful. But if the only way someone can view a TV show is to grab it from a bit torrent network, then no amount of education will change that.

We should enable people to access the information/material they seek. And consider introducing a licensing fee attached to internet service provider (ISP) connections. This fee would then be collected and distributed by an external agency amongst copyright holders.  In order to work, it would need the buy in of all ISPs and rights holders. It would likely be focussed on New Zealand copyright content first.

I think the future is going to be some sort of bulk license fee, paid through the ISP. Something alone the lines of $15/month for all the music you want.

However such a licensing fee should be a voluntary agreement between Internet users, their ISPs and rights holders. I would be very against an additional fee being imposed on all Internet users regardless of whether or not they wish to download material. A 75 year old occassional web browser should not have to pay for the 19 year old who downloads scores of songs a month.

Establishment of an independent rights agency to distribute fees and rule on disputes.  We still need an enforcement regime and a rights agency could also have the power to investigate and adjudicate on copyright disputes and alleged infringements aka the Section 92A model. However, I am of the view that internet disconnection is not a viable option. It simply won’t work and will drive hard core copyright infringers more underground. Financial penalties are more likely to work.

I agree that that financial penalties are a more appropriate penalty for infringers. I think it is excellent Labour appear to be ruling out supporting legislation that has Internet termination as a penalty.

A commitment to protect NZ content first. It’s our heritage, and the people who create NZ content must be able to make a living from their work and have that work valued.

Can’t really debate that one, as it is one of those apple pie statements such as “Education is good” which doesn’t mean a lot.  But I do think Clare is missing a few key words. It should be “must be able to have the opportunity to make a living from their work”. No-one is guaranteed the ability to make a living from their content. Otherwise us bloggers would be earning a lot more!

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