Share/E-mail This Story

Email This



US Offered To Write New Zealand's Three Strikes Laws

from the but-of-course dept

Leaked cables have already confirmed how involved the US government has been in Canadian copyright reform, Swedish copyright reform and Spanish copyright reform. I think, at this point, it's safe to assume that anywhere in the world where we're seeing new draconian copyright laws proposed, the US is behind them.

How about New Zealand? Yup. The country that just approved a new three strikes law also faced tremendous pressure from the US. As you may recall, back in 2008, New Zealand politicians tried to sneak through a three strikes law, that would kick people offline based on accusations (not convictions) of infringement. A few months later, mainly due to massive public outcry, the government scrapped those plans and actually promised a complete rethink of copyright laws.

But, of course, the US and its entertainment industry interests couldn't have that. It quickly got heavily involved in pressuring the government. In a cable just after New Zealand decided to scrap the proposed law, the US embassy noted that it made it clear a new 3 strikes law needed to be put in place as soon as possible and saying that the US can help them write the new law.
Embassy will continue to stress with GNZ officials the need for a shorter rather than protracted timeline for the redraft and will ascertain the details of a notice and comment period for public submissions once released by GNZ. During this hiatus we've proposed holding DVC(s) between NZ and U.S. interlocutors to possibly help with drafting and as a public diplomacy tool to dispel public misperceptions about proper role of IPR protection. U.S. agencies have the benefit of 10 years worth of experience in enforcing the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act that may serve useful to New Zealand officials in their effort to implement section 92A.
Yes, you read that right. Not only did the US say it would help write a foreign country's laws, it also planned to use its 10 years of experiences with the failed DMCA (as described by the guy who wrote it), as a guide for how to pass bad legislation in New Zealand.

The cables turned up a few other interesting tidbits from a bit further back, including the fact that a program -- run by the Recording Industry Association New Zealand (RIANZ) to set up a website and get people to snitch on their friends, reporting them as infringers -- was funded by the US government. Yes, the US government handed half a million dollars (New Zealand dollars) to the recording industry to get people to turn in their friends for copying music. Lovely.

Separately, the US warned New Zealand that exceptions in copyright law (including those found in US law under fair use) should not be allowed in New Zealand because:
these exceptions to copyright protection would send the wrong message to consumers and undermine efforts to curb unauthorized copying of CDs in New Zealand. They would cost the industry in revenue and profits and discourage innovation.
They admit that this info comes from industry lobbyists themselves, but the embassy still seems to think it's valid. This is a complete joke, of course. As many copyright scholars and experts will tell you, it's those exceptions that are important to keeping new content coming and vibrant. The idea that concepts like fair use would "send the wrong message to consumers" is laughable, and the US government shouldn't be pushing such garbage on other countries.

None of this is a surprise, but it is a clear reminder of how much the entertainment industry's completely debunked arguments not only influence US policy on these matters, but they're also pushed by US diplomats on other countries around the globe.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 2nd, 2011 @ 7:55am

    Shouldn't the consumers be the ones to determine what the right message is? Isn't the government supposed to be for the people?

    This is a tacit admission that these laws exist not because the people want them, they do not, but because industry wants them. The government needs to send the 'right message' to the people because the people don't want these laws. I say we abolish these laws.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    charliebrown (profile), May 2nd, 2011 @ 7:56am

    Oh crap =(

    What worries me if that the US can convince NZ then it really truly is only a matter of time before our government here (Australia) jumps on this bandwagon. It's bad enough they still want to filter our internet - a fact which has not made the news in months and months but, as far as anybody knows, is still on the agenda. Not to mention the NBN being limited to 200GB per month. I'm gonna hit "submit" before I start swearing....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    icon
    Designerfx (profile), May 2nd, 2011 @ 8:09am

    uh

    how is the US trying to bring down entire countries via writing their laws anything other than an act of war or equivalent to trade sanctions?

    Are other countries not aware of how drastic the economic penalties would be for following what the US asks for?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Pixelation, May 2nd, 2011 @ 8:15am

    This just in; The US is willing to write all of the laws for any other country, willing or not.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), May 2nd, 2011 @ 8:27am

    Re: uh

    Let's be honest. The US is the largest bully in the yard. If we want to take down these interests, it will be by taking down the special govn. interests that they rely on. It's a good thing to report this wound that is hurting society at large. Now, we can make the politicians accountable for this bad behavior. An uphill struggle, true, but when is fighting for freedoms ever easy?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 2nd, 2011 @ 8:51am

    They would cost the industry in revenue and profits and discourage innovation.
    They admit that this info comes from industry lobbyists themselves, but the embassy still seems to think it's valid. This is a complete joke, of course. As many copyright scholars and experts will tell you, it's those exceptions that are important to keeping new content coming and vibrant. The idea that concepts like fair use would "send the wrong message to consumers" is laughable


    It's not laughable if you're a gatekeeper who wants to hold on to their monopoly.

    This is a propaganda war - the fact that they believe that people who engage in culture are "consumers" speaks volumes - culture isn't "consumed", it's *shared* (by definition - if it's not shared, it's not culture.)

    While troubling that the US would try to destroy the culture of other countries, this is not really news.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 2nd, 2011 @ 9:03am

    Re:

    The U.S. govt grants monopoly power on almost everything, what do you expect? From taxi cab monopolies to broadcasting monopolies, to cableco monopolies, to mailbox delivery monopolies, to electricity delivery monopolies, to patents, to copy protection laws, to just about everything else you can name, the U.S. creates all sorts of restrictions designed to keep competitors out of various markets. Govt imposed monopolies are the backbone of our plutocracy which is why our monopolized media never criticizes them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 2nd, 2011 @ 9:10am

    Re: Re:

    The U.S. is basically turning into Russia, a nation that would go through great lengths to protect its industry with little regard for others. The result, like in Russia, is income inequality, the disappearance of a middle class, which has been an increasingly prevalent occurrence in the U.S. in the last couple of decades as a result of its industry protection efforts.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    chickwithaninvisibledick, May 2nd, 2011 @ 10:31am

    Re:

    "While troubling that the US would try to destroy the culture of other countries, this is not really news."

    It's sad enough as it is, that throughout its brief history, that nation has done nothing but expand its borders (literally, as well as figuratively) at the expense of others, but what's even sadder is that most Americans don't really benefit from this. I actually feel sorry for them. Those people who lost their jobs when companies started outsourcing to third-world countries. Those people who had to be sent to Iraq to fight a war that should never have been declared in the first place. Those poor brainwashed people who are rejoicing about the death of some low-life terrorist leader as though terrorism ends with his death.

    Some people who are passionately anti-American (we have those here, being one of the countries they invaded) mistakenly lump them all together as one huge evil entity. But a lot of them are just like most of us: part of the taxes they pay with their hard-earned money goes to helping businesses squeeze them even tighter, then convincing them that it's all for their own good.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    icon
    The eejit (profile), May 2nd, 2011 @ 11:17am

    Re:

    This just in; The US is willing to steal all of the laws for any other country, willing or not.

    FTFY

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), May 2nd, 2011 @ 1:28pm

    Re: Re:

    "Those poor brainwashed people who are rejoicing about the death of some low-life terrorist leader as though terrorism ends with his death."

    To be fair, those same morons were under the delusion that terrorism started with 9/11 so that's not too surprising...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    icon
    The eejit (profile), May 2nd, 2011 @ 1:40pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    To be fair, the Americans are the number 1 funders of Terrorism in that last 70 years.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 2nd, 2011 @ 1:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    To be fair, you are an idiot.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    icon
    mike3 (profile), May 2nd, 2011 @ 3:33pm

    Re: Re:

    chickwithaninvisibledick: "Those poor brainwashed people who are rejoicing about the death of some low-life terrorist leader as though terrorism ends with his death."

    Well, I liked seeing him dead, but I don't think that is the end of "terrorism". How can I get "un-brainwashed" and be as good in this regard as you? And does this mean we should continue with an endless war on "terrorism"?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    icon
    Chargone (profile), May 2nd, 2011 @ 5:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    south america called, they want their democracies back :P

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    icon
    Hex (profile), May 2nd, 2011 @ 5:33pm

    Every time I try and comment on this, I end up getting really angry and swearing a lot.

    The law is a joke, finding out where all this muppetry originated is just even more infuriating.

    The fact that brought the law in under "urgency" during the national state of emergency after the earthquake is insulting.

    Their complete disregard for our fundamental right to be considered innocent until proven guilty is scary.

    Let's have a look at the people in parliament making these laws shall we?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJdPkrpFXBM

    Ohhhh so thaaaaat's how laws like this make it in! Doesn't that just make you lose complete hope?

    Americans wonder why the rest of the world has such a negative attitude towards their country. Maybe, just maybe it has something to do with your country constantly trying to bully and interfere with other countries to suit your own needs. We don't need you waltzing in here trying to dictate draconian BS laws that you wont even pass in your own country, you don't have to live with this crap, we do and it's not welcome. So bug off and mind your own god damn business.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    AG Musgrove, May 2nd, 2011 @ 9:46pm

    Butt The Hell Out

    No quite thank you US of A.
    We are quite capable of writing our own laws, thanks awfully much though anyway.
    We rather like to have free speech our style not a police state a la` US.
    So thanks very much, if you have anything else to suggest toss it in the round basket and please go and look after your own sad outfit.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    AG Musgrove, May 2nd, 2011 @ 9:47pm

    Butt The Hell Out

    No quite thank you US of A.
    We are quite capable of writing our own laws, thanks awfully much though anyway.
    We rather like to have free speech our style not a police state a la` US.
    So thanks very much, if you have anything else to suggest toss it in the round basket and please go and look after your own sad outfit.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    icon
    The eejit (profile), May 2nd, 2011 @ 11:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    In the last 70 years, they have directly funded:

    1) French Resistance (noble, but still terorrists under the US definition);
    2) The IRA;
    3) Al-Qa'ida (in Afghanistan in the late 80's early 90's.);
    4) Hamas (odd, that one).
    5) Col. Qadhafi;
    6) Saddam Hussein.

    So yes, I'd argue that they are the largest funders of Terrorism.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    icon
    indieThing (profile), May 3rd, 2011 @ 6:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Actually The eejit is probably right, the US and UK between them have caused far more deaths and terror than any non-government sponsored terrorist groups. Just look at the number of deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan. Also, it's very conveniently forgotten that the CIA helped form and fund various groups now classed as terrorist. You should try reading your history a bit more.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    btr1701 (profile), May 6th, 2011 @ 9:55am

    Spin

    > to dispel public misperceptions about
    > proper role of IPR protection

    I like how they've spun it so that if you disagree with them, you're depicted as ignorant.

    Their propaganda doesn't allow for the notion that people can understand completely how the system actually works and at the same time take issue with it and suggest alternatives.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    bikey, May 7th, 2011 @ 5:08am

    Re:

    Aren't you too young to be on the internet by yourself?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This