NZ's Labour party rejects cutting off pirates

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NZ's Labour party rejects cutting off pirates

Reverses earlier position.

New Zealand's Labour party, currently in opposition, has stated that it would no longer support provisions for cutting off file sharer's internet accounts.

The policy is a back-flip on the party's position on graduated response legislation in the past, which supported termination of internet access.

The party announced that it support for the current New Zealand Government's Copyright Infringement File Sharing Amendment Bill, but said it strongly opposes provisions in it for cutting off file sharers' Internet accounts.

Labour ICT spokeswoman Clare Curran says cutting off infringers' Internet access "is not workable" and "ineffective as a remedy according to all advice received" by her party. Curran also says it was also a matter of principle to ensure that people have freedom of access to information.

In 2008, New Zealand's Labour Party enacted a controversial Section (92A) of the country's Amended Copyright Act which required ISPs to implement a "reasonable policy" to terminate repeat infringers' Internet accounts, with the support of the then opposition National Party.

Following a public outcry against S92A the year after, the new National government suspended the law pending consultation with stakeholders. The present S92 proposes a regime with a longer process and Internet termination only after a tribunal order.

Curran says the intense and widespread public reaction to S92A is directly behind Labour changing its mind on Internet termination as a penalty. She says Labour has consulted extensively on the issue with interested parties, including rights holders. These, Curran says, are "broadly supportive of the new S92A."

Lobby group InternetNZ's policy director Jordan Carter says his organisation is pleased to see Labour reversing its previous position on Internet termination and "coming to its senses" on the issue.

Next month, New Zealand hosts the latest round of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) discussions, under which the host country is pushing for greater clarity and transparency under the international agreement.

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