Back home in New Zealand, as it is elsewhere Copyright laws are being reviewed and attempts made to alter the way they work. And IMHO to change the way the legal process works.
To snip some text from the www.creativefreedom.org.nz site:
I've just become aware about some major proposed changes in NZ law that will have a huge impact on artists, businesses, and general members of the public: basically anyone that uses the internet, and I thought you should know about them.
The proposed Section 92 of the Copyright Amendment Act assumes Guilt Upon Accusation and forces the termination of internet connections and websites without evidence, without a fair trial, and without punishment for any false accusations of copyright infringement. We should speak out against injustices like Guilt Upon Accusation being done in the name of artists and protecting creativity.
The countdown is on: we have until 28 February 2009 to influence government.
An organisation called the Creative Freedom Foundation has been set up to specifically represent artists voices on these issues. Check out their website: http://www.creativefreedom.org.nz , sign up and help our MPs make an informed decision about S92!
Last weekend I discussed some of these issues with a solicitor here in the UK, not tech savvy I should add. He was shocked at some of the things that I described to him that happen already, without laws like this one being introduced.
To him, the idea of something happening BEFORE a trial is completely weird. Section 92 and more generally the way websites for example get taken down at the first sign of a cease & desist letter from a lawyer; is just wrong.
Where was the evidence, the trial, the legal process?
There seems to be a sad trend that people like the Creative Freedom Foundation, EFF and ORG need to fight to try and protect people from things online that would never happen in the real world. You can't be banned from using your car, just because the local garage claims you didn't pay for the last service on the engine. But section 92 (and similar legislation and so forth outside of NZ) will remove you from the internet just because someone accuses you of something!
I can't fathom how law makers can be persuaded that these sorts of propositions have merit, I really can't. Anyway, if you are an MP, then you can vote against the bill. If not, visit www.Creativefreedom.org.nz and sign the petition and consider blogging about the issue. You have 52 days to act before this becomes a law in New Zealand, so please get a move on.