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88 posts

Master Geek
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Topic # 29411 6-Jan-2009 14:09 Send private message

It's not often NZ makes the front page of Digg:

"Campaign to Stop File-Sharers Being ?Guilty Upon Accusation

Next month, New Zealand is scheduled to implement Section 92 of the Copyright Amendment Act. The controversial act provides ?Guilt Upon Accusation?, which means that if a file-sharer is simply accused of copyright infringement, they are immediately guilty. The punishment - summary Internet disconnection."

http://digg.com/tech_news/Campaign_to_Stop_File_Sharers_Being_Guilty_Upon_Accusation#



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29 posts

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  Reply # 187823 6-Jan-2009 16:29 Send private message

Thanks for helping spread the word jesterz Laughing

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  Reply # 187835 6-Jan-2009 17:28 Send private message

I'm going to play the devil's advocate here...

Freetard:  One who firmly believes in not paying for e.g. software, films, music. Generally an avid proponent of p2p filesharing.  Fred thinks Hollywood will make films even if nobody pays to see them. He's such a freetard.


Here's how section 92 will work in practice..

Your ISP recieves a copyright infringement notice, they check their logs comparing the date/time/ipaddress, they contact you and give you a warning about your first strike.

x2

x3

You get disconnected


Most sane people will stop pirating illegal dvd rips of movies at #2 as the risk is now too high.

Freetards will get disconnected, boo hoo they might have to buy movies or go to the cinemas every now and then.  You thought getting plenty of something for nothing was going to last?  Cry me a river.

Hey I have and idea we should totally have thousands of long winded trials and appeals that take years, ones that do nothing but fill up the courts with useless cases delaying important cases (like murders etc) so every freetard can try the "hey it can't have been me downloading that, I mean yes that is my ip address but it must have been my neighbour hacking my gibson via my unsecured wireless" defense.

BDFL
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Reply # 187842 6-Jan-2009 17:55 Send private message

I think the bigger risk here is that smaller ISPs will see this "investigation" ("check their logs comparing the date/time/ipaddress") as too costly and simply skip it - in effect assuming that anyone fingered by those "media police" are guilt by default and then proceed to disconnect people even when it's not the case.

We both know how ISPs really treat their customers in some cases...




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Geek

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  Reply # 187845 6-Jan-2009 18:14 Send private message

Hi Ragnor,

As stated regularly all over our site we're not for copyright infringement (so we wouldn't qualify for "freetard" status) or anything that takes money away from artists. As you say you're playing devils advocate but there are a range of opinions here beyond polar extremes :)

While our opposition to s92 is about maintaining due process there is the wider issue of copyright law itself and what qualifies as copyright infringement. Again, this is not a black and white issue. As an artist I've seen many works (mostly music and visual arts) that are based on sampling -- sometimes they're sampling text (that's legal without permission) and sometimes they're sampling audio (that's not legal without permission). Sometimes copyright infringement can be as simple as recording your baby dancing to Prince. The problem with bypassing the courts is that it bypasses any defence that someone has for using material -- and this affects artists. The patent law firm Baldwins says that "amendments to the Copyright Act requiring ISPs to take down copyright infringing material are 'rather broad' and will probably require refining through court cases. But that, he says, will be a matter of an ISP 'having the nerve' to push a disputed case through the courts." [ComputerWorld, , 21 April, 2008]. A black and white view of copyright harms the grey area of Fair Dealing which artists use and cherish, I assure you (and that's what the Creative Freedom Foundation are all about).

As ISPs transmit copyrighted material across their own network (for their users) they're open to copyright infringement claims themselves unless they comply with s92a. ISPs are therefore put into the role of policing copyright infringement accusations without judicial oversight against their customers, all while risking their business if they get it wrong. It's in this impossible situation and this poorly thought out law that bypasses the courts that ISPs are saying they will be forced to disconnect customers. RIANZ  say that having to provide evidence is both "impractical" and "ridiculous".

I believe that I understand your opinion that the courts would be too slow and so we should bypass them and trust accusations. I don't think that's sensible, so I guess we disagree on that. I don't buy into the idea that we're all copyright infringers just waiting to be caught.

I would hope that we could agree on a few things though,

1) that as the select committee suggested we should have recourse for false accusations.
2) that there should be a formal appeal process (informally convincing an risk-averse ISP to take your side in a dispute is ridiculous).

I think most people would disagree with the law, at least on those grounds.








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  Reply # 187885 6-Jan-2009 21:31 Send private message

I can see many many avenues for abuse, from both sides of the fence...

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  Reply # 187895 6-Jan-2009 22:11 Send private message


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Master Geek


  Reply # 187915 7-Jan-2009 00:29 Send private message

I've started spreading the word over at Shihad.com.

The idea of something to control copyright infringment certainly has merit, but this implementation seems to bypass everything that makes up a democracy - the right to a fair trial, innocence until proven guilty, and the right to appeal.

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  Reply # 187916 7-Jan-2009 00:55 Send private message

The main change is ISP's can no longer ignore legitimate copyright notices from copyright owners (or their designated agents), I've heard from friends working in ISP's in NZ that many ISP's just bin any notices they get currently.

The overwhelming majority of cases are going to be clear cut as it's trivial for copyright owners to pinpoint a userss IP addresses when they are downloading from a public torrent tracker.

I do agree there should probably be a commissioner or ombudsman or something you can appeal to if you really think you were wrongly accused but having a court process for the majority of theses cases would be a massive waste of time.

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  Reply # 187926 7-Jan-2009 07:47 Send private message

Holloway
I hardly think downloading 10s of GBs of torrent data and inadvertent sampling of songs are related.
McD

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  Reply # 187929 7-Jan-2009 08:22 Send private message

Hi McDave,

On the overlap between copyright infringing torrents and remixing this Wall Street Journal article is quite accurate. The law makes no distinction, and we've seen no distinction applied overseas.

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  Reply # 187933 7-Jan-2009 08:42 Send private message





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Reply # 187958 7-Jan-2009 10:08 Send private message

Why bypass the courts?




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  Reply # 188064 7-Jan-2009 18:48 Send private message

Two major things wrong - the guilty upon accusation thing, which is already being discussed.
But another thing that really confuses me - the police often say for people not to take the law into their own hands, but this is exactly what is being done. First of all theres no jury on whether it was done or not, then they are telling companies to take and enforce the law themselves, completely bypassing any court process.

By the way that the old copyright minister reacted to some peoples questions which if i remember was quite rude or something, i think that the content providers/RIANZ/RIAA must have had a massive say in this, for something so ridiculous to actually be passed into law.

edit: A digg comment which is so true:
What is it about file sharing that makes people so insane that they act like the end of the world is coming? Guilt without confession or trial? You're telling me that in New Zealand after the passage of this law you could ******* MURDER someone and still the courts would have to hear the case but that if someone merely accuses you of file sharing they'll yank your internet because you're obviously guilty.


I don't mind if they are trying to enforce copyright law, but this is certainly not the way to go about it. Especially when the RIANZ said providing evidence is impractical and rediculous.

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  Reply # 188115 7-Jan-2009 22:00 Send private message

I can't think of any other situation where an accuser can obtain direct benefit at no cost. No lawyers, no administration charge. (actually, accusing your neighbours of being jewish during WWII was pretty effective at freeing up carparks in front of your house... but that is another argument altogether)

Each accusation has an associated cost. Be it the ISP admin (for checking logs/confirmation etc), the lost revenue from cutting off a customer, or the cost to the customer of being disconnected.

This implies that music companies can accuse countless times at no cost. We must trust the copy right holders to accuse responsibly.

Furthermore, this kind of ham fisted legislation will force file sharing off P2P protocols onto (existing) https protocols (via subscription). HTTPS can't be throttled... goodbye quality internet experience (for everyone!).

Were this to eventuate (file sharing over encrypted channels becomes widespread), what would I, as a legislator, or ISP do? Look at users with large usage (>40 gig say) and issue "please explains"... enter more ham fisted legislation to enable this and more personal rights infringement.

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  Reply # 188206 8-Jan-2009 14:32 Send private message

holloway: Hi McDave,

On the overlap between copyright infringing torrents and remixing this Wall Street Journal article is quite accurate. The law makes no distinction, and we've seen no distinction applied overseas.


And what a heart-wrenching story it is.  I'm not sure about the author's inability to differentiate between creativity and regurgitating old rubbish to fleece myopic kids of their pocket-money but that's another discussion.  Nice deflection of my original question by the way - what does committing the occasional home-grown faux-pas have to do with 10s of GBs of torrent-swiped music, movies & TV shows per month?

Of course if an 'offender' is downloading 10s of GBs of videos showing kids singing that may require a different type of legal action.

As I'm ranting - this situation isn't a case of guilty upon accusation.  It's about ISPs becoming accountable for customers abusing their services when it's commercially beneficial for them to turn a blind eye.  In other businesses if a customer is engaging in potentially-risky activity, be it jostling or being drunk in a bar, loitering with no clear intent to purchase, dry-retching in a taxi - the business has the right to reject their custom.  ISPs aren't taking the law into their own hands, they're not hauling abusers up for major fines or penalties, they are simply exercising their right to walk away from high-risk scenarios where they may be (rightly) exposed to charges of aiding & abetting copyright infringement.

Until now ISPs have implemented this by throttling dubious traffic but that's reactive, ineffective and presumably time-consuming with costs passed on to the rest of us.  Tracking the US technoratti indicates that 4% or users there account for over 40% of internet traffic so I, for one, look forward to this ruling coming into effect so everyone can enjoy a faster, more useful internet.

McD

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