I see that the PM has gone on record in the Fairfax Press to say that the Copyright Act 1994 would still need something like s. 92A if it were to be brought into line with other countries. He obviously thinks we are thick. Or he has advisers who don’t need to deal with these laws at the coal face.
I have read the act. And I like to think I am reasonably familiar with other countries’ equivalents, especially the US’s, as I have to make use of its Copyright Act 1976 and its Digital Millennium Copyright Act regularly.
My recollection of the various pieces of legislation is that New Zealand is duty-bound to respect and help enforce the copyrights of other signatory countries by convention. That means whatever is protected Stateside gets the same protection here.
Mr Key clearly does not know this, and that our own laws are actually superior to the US’s in many ways.
Cross-border relations between equal sovereign states means that there needs to be give and take—and New Zealand, the last time I looked, had not been admitted as the 51st state of the US or become a protectorate.
The mechanisms are already there in the Copyright Act for, say, an American company to ﬁle suit against a New Zealand pirate. They are roughly the same as the steps that that American company needs to take to bring an American pirate to court.
What the government—and the Opposition that introduced these amendments when it was in power—are saying is that New Zealand should make it easier for an American company to pursue a New Zealand national than an American one, just to kiss up to certain interests and secure a free-trade deal with the US.
I am all for a free-trade deal with our American friends (with certain conditions) but not at the expense of our freedoms and rights—just as no American would give up theirs to trade with us.
This kowtowing by the two major New Zealand political parties must paint a picture to the US and Red China that Kiwis are a bunch of pushovers who have no regard for their own people’s rights.
The pressure still needs to be kept on the government to repeal ss. 92A and 92C, as proposed by United Future leader, Peter Dunne.
The Alliance Party, of which I remain a member, is also against these sections, and these are the only two parties (to my knowledge) that have come out against the government’s moves.
Today’s statement by the PM and his Minister of Commerce is, by my reading, a slap in the face to all right-thinking New Zealanders—and conﬁrms my earlier statements about a visionless, reactive Cabinet. I would insist on greater balance between the parties to any amendments—something that I am not conﬁdent the government would even understand as this nation’s legislators. Posted by Jack Yan, 09:46
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