More Education, less Legislation - Repeal of Section 92 A

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For immediate release.

23 March 2009

The New Zealand Open Source Society (NZOSS) is pleased to see the abandonment of the unfair Section 92A of the Copyright Amendment (New Technologies) Act, a move supported by the vast majority of NZOSS members and the ICT community in New Zealand.

Prime Minister John Key announced on Monday that the Government will throw out the controversial section, and Justice minister Simon Power will now initiate a rewrite.

Before it was brought to the attention of the public by personalities such as Stephen Fry and the successful "blackout" campaign, opposition to the Act was well established in the ICT sector. After formal consultation, the Select Committee had inserted safeguards into the proposed legislation. However, these were removed by the then Minister, Judith Tizzard. Society President Don Christie pointed out that "many other people involved in opposing these changes to the Copyright Act have been doing so for several years. These people put a lot of personal effort and time into participating in what were supposed to be the democratic process."

The NZOSS would particularly like to congratulate the Creative Freedom Foundation (http://creativefreedom.org.nz/) for their part in raising awareness of the issues involved in a responsible manner, and their promotion of a coordinated and constructive response to the Act.

The NZOSS and the rest of the ICT community cannot rest on its laurels. Justice minister Simon Power will be re-writing the act, and the emphasis must be on creating a workable copyright framework that benefits all of New Zealand.

Don Christie is among those calling for a proper economic analysis of the act's successor, rather than relying on cherry-picked reports from a minority of the affected parties:

"Speaking as a significant holder of Copyright assets, I would like to see some real economic analysis on just how broken Copyright legislation actually is and on how broken the rest of the economy becomes if we chose to break the Internet at the behest of RIANZ [Recording Industry Association of New Zealand] and their friends. I’d like MED [Ministry of Economic Development] to do their job and develop policy based on sound economics. Then maybe we can have a discussion about whether legislation changes are required."

The NZOSS supports the mainstream knowledge communities in relation to the Copyright Act. It thanks and supports the leadership taken by InternetNZ, the NZCS, TUANZ, and the Library and Information Association of New
Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA) over S92A. We look forward to assisting in the creation of just Copyright legislation for all of New Zealand.

Copyright is an extremely powerful right which is automatically assigned to authors of works. Most Copyright holders do not understand how these rights can be used to their benefit. The NZOSS is calling for more education rather than more legislation.

The New Zealand Open Source Society is a non-profit organisation set up to protect, advocate and advance the use of free and open source software in New Zealand.

ENDS

For more information contact Don Christie, president@nzoss.org.nz