Copyright Act - Simply Wrong (Updated)

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Colin Jackson wrote a report on a meeting held on Monday between the Government ministers responsible for the Copyright Act and ICT (Judith Tizard and David Cunliffe) and the ICT industry. Colin represented the NZOSS but in reality our views are pretty much mainstream.

It makes for a very sorry read. The tone of the meeting sounds awful and I am amazed at the disdain shown for our sector's concerns.

I should note that Minister Tizard is completely wrong when she claims no-one has been engaging with her over these issues. From Colin's notes:

"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."

Peter Harrison expressed concern to her nearly two years ago at the first foo camp. More of us carried on the conversation at the same venue a year later. We have made submissions to the select committee, Mark Harris and I met her just a few weeks ago to discuss issues of ACTA and Copyright. The subject obviously came up in that meeting.

It is clear to me that Minister Tizard simply does not understand these issues as they relate both to IT and to artistic endeavour. Nor does she seem to understand the chilling scope for private and state censorship that she has just introduced.

I would like to thank David Cunliffe for arranging this meeting, it is clear that Copyright and Patent law is sitting in the wrong portfolio.

Update - Colin also spoke about this on National Radio this morning. The ogg files are here and transcript is here. Interestingly Minister Tizard contacted the show and repeated her comment about the industry not engaging in the legislative process a year ago. Repeating this falsehood does not make it fact. It would be good if the Minister stopped making this incorrect statement.

Well done for raising this issue. I suspect that now the story has a personal conflict angle, it has a greater chance of receiving local media attention. The key will be to make it clear what impacts this legislation might have on ordinary New Zealanders. Who loses, who wins, and who is or is not doing their job safeguarding the public interest. Plenty to run a few stories I would have thought.

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I am firmly of the belief that this issue needs to be aired in the mainstream media. Much more in the way of peer review is required... if things were cut and dried and acceptable to the general public, the Minister would have nothing to worry about, right?

I've blogged on it too, with extracts from some of the (fairly productive) discussion from Openchat:

http://www.blakjak.net/node/1077

Colin needs big kudos too for his efforts to date, and his help at getting this issue exposed.

Also for the record here's the facebook group:

http://www.new.facebook.com/group.php?gid=29834002818

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