US Offered To Write New Zealand's Three Strikes Laws
from the but-of-course dept
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.