Thousands of Artists Against Guilt Upon Accusation Laws

, posted: 20-Jan-2009 15:39

The Creative Freedom Foundation announced today that thousands of artists have signed their petition against the removal of New Zealander's rights through changes in copyright law, purportedly done in the name of protecting artists and creativity. The foundation say that Sections 92A and 92C of the Copyright Amendment Act presume Guilt Upon Accusation – cutting off internet connections and websites based on accusations of Copyright infringement, without a trial and without evidence being held to court scrutiny.

Foundation Co-Founder and Director, Bronwyn Holloway-Smith says:

Quote“While copyright infringement is a problem for artists, our petition shows that thousands of artists think that it is a greater problem for people not to get a trial. Treating fans as guilty until proven innocent isn't what artists want done in their name, and many see that as being damaging to creative industries.”

On 28 February 2009 Section 92A will come into effect in New Zealand if there is no positive action on the part of the Government to change it. Although there have been recent reports that it may be reconsidered, there is still a high chance it may “roll over” in to law unless there is increased public protest against it.

The Creative Freedom Foundation have announced they are disappointed to see that RIANZ and APRA are continuing to push for the Guilt Upon Accusation law Section 92A, considering it's reversal of the presumption of innocence and recent research showing that innocent people can easily be framed.

APRA member and Wellington musician Phil Brownlee says:

Quote“As an APRA member, the thing that really strikes me about their public position is that it's not based on consultation with actual members (Or, if it was, not all of them.) It disturbs me that APRA seem to be uncritically repeating the (arguably fallacious) arguments of the big international publishers, which, from my point of view, are based on flawed understandings of the technological and social changes we're in the middle of.”

Another APRA member, Anthony Milas, says:

Quote"This law is poorly written and poorly thought-out in such ways that could lead to abuse of the basic human rights of ordinary individuals. If anything the public backlash sure to result from such a situation will make it even more difficult to educate the public and convince lawmakers of the necessity of sensible laws to protect creators rights.”

In a public talk last week Bronwyn Holloway-Smith repeated that the result of this law could be that one rogue employee or even one virus infected computer could bring down a whole organisation's internet and it's highly likely that schools, businesses, libraries, and phone services will be harmed by this.

Last week, in a letter to Government, the New Zealand Library Association (LIANZA) called for Section 92A to be repealed, stating that the law implies "that ISPs will be required to act on accusations of illegal access of copyright materials by users (thereby reversing the legal principle that a person or organisation is deemed innocent until proved guilty)”, further stating that it could cause “the organisation (e.g. council, university, school, etc) to which the library is attached to lose all Internet access.”

With thousands of people now speaking out against Section 92A – including artists, libraries, and the IT community – the Creative Freedom Foundation urges the government to repeal the law before it comes into effect on February 28th.

The petition can be signed by artists and the wider public at

Other related posts:
Draconian copyright law: Section 92 a SCRAPPED
Section 92 - Public Demonstration
will new zealand extend copyright to 80 years after artist death?

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Wally (Brenda) 
Te Whanganui O Tara
New Zealand