ACTA

I’m getting nervous on the front.

I was pleased the Government suspended the introduction of the “guilt upon accusation” S92A.

I was also pleased with their proposed policy replacement, that came out on 7 August. Didn’t agree with everything in it, but it was a lot better than the law passed by Judith Tizard. So far so good.

Submissions closed on that document on 7 August – that is four months ago. Most of the submissions were supportive.

So why I wonder has the Government not released its final proposed policy?

One reason I can think of is that they are getting furiously lobbied by United States lobby groups demanding changes to the proposed policy. We know the US MPAA had a Vice-President out here. I was pleased he only got to meet with officials, and not the Minister, but it would be naive to think such lobbying has no impact.

I hope I am wrong, and what emerges is at least as satisfactory as what was in the proposed policy. But why has it been four months with no news?

And then we have the (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) which could remove our ability to determine our own laws in this area. Let me quote Peter Dunne and Clare Curran on this:

Peter Dunne said:

UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne has called on the Government to release details of the recent international negotiations on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.

“There is a lot of conjecture about the contents of ACTA and what it will mean for the protection and enforcement of intellectual property and copyright law here in New Zealand,” said Mr Dunne.

“The veil of secrecy surrounding the contents of the ACTA agreement is causing a lot of concern not only here but also among the other nations involved.”

Indeed. And there are conflicting reports on what ACTA covers. Some say it is large scale commercial piracy. Other say it seeks to mandate S92A type laws for everyone.

“It is in the public interest for the Government here to be as transparent as possible over ACTA.”

“While we have been told by Mr Power that the negotiations bear no relevance to the issues around the review of S.92A of the Copyright Act, many people are nervous that this is what has held the current review up.”

“A simple disclosure of the terms and text of ACTA negotiations would allay any misplaced anxiety while also giving New Zealanders the opportunity to voice concerns they may have.”

“Mr Power was quick to listen to New Zealanders over S.92A and scrap Labour’s unjust law; I encourage him to do the same over ACTA,” said Mr Dunne.

It would be great to both have the ACTA text made public, and also to be told what is causing the delay in the review of S92A?

Clare Curran has also said:

In the interests of transparency and public interest, the New Zealand Government should reveal the text of recent secret discussions in South Korea on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).

Clare has also blogged a transcript of questions about ACTA at a select committee.

The official says:

On the section 92A question that you ask, the answer is difficult to give. I just do not know how the United States is going to approach this issue, either in TPP or in ACTA as yet, in that they have not come to a definitive negotiating position even in ACTA. It is also very early days, as you know, internationally in terms of putting place these kinds of provisions, and a lot of people are looking at New Zealand in terms of how we do it and whether we can provide something of a model for others to follow. The strong hope that we would have is that the kinds of provisions that we are going to recommend shortly—and that, hopefully, the Minister will propose shortly to Parliament—will be enough in terms of any further concessions sought from us from the United States, etc. I think that in terms of the kinds of bases that the US wants hit, we will hit them but we will still have enough safeguards to protect the interests of users as well as owners.

That to me suggests that what is acceptable to the US, is a factor in the review of 92A.

Now I am a fan of an FTA with the USA. But I’d rather not give them everything they want before we even negotiate an FTA. Hell, we might be able to get rid of some lamb tariffs if we don’t bend over prematurely.

The official also said they hope for an update on S92A before Xmas. Not many days to go.

Also people interested in this issue might be interested in Kiwiright – a 12 minute documentary about the fight against S92A. It is embedded below.

© kiwiright from nu4mz on Vimeo.

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