It would not be in New Zealand’s best interest to sign a global treaty on copyright law, as each individual country should develop its own regulations, Internet New Zealand says.
This comment comes after the anti-counterfeiting trade agreement (ACTA) returned to the drawing board last week in Seoul, to further discuss how to implement and police global copyright and counterfeit matters, and to sign an international treaty.
InternetNZ deputy executive director Jordan Carter said the organisation was all in favour of developing an international treaty against content piracy but strongly disagreed against a global policy that enforced punishment on individual users who breached infringement notices. Instead, New Zealand should be able to develop its own regulations, Mr Carter said.
Details of the talks have yet to be officially released but leaked documents indicated a turn in ACTA’s momentum.
Mr Carter said rumours emerged last week that ACTA had shifted its focus from dealing with non-commercial infringement of copyright material (by ordinary citizens) to arguing about the termination of people’s internet accounts. “If correct, this is cause for alarm and shows significant change in ACTA’s focus.
“We don’t support this three strikes approach, and would be very disappointed if John Key signed an agreement [than implemented this].”
Mr Carter said the government should clarify its stance on the matter and “put more information about what exactly is under discussion into the public domain”.
“Big music and movie interests, and other content producers, are conducting a global campaign to put their interests ahead of citizens rights to use the internet and to not be subject to unreasonable and arbitrary penalties that do nothing for public interest,” Mr Carter
New Zealand and a number of trading partners including, the US, Australia, Canada, the European Union, Japan, Korea, Mexico and Switzerland, have been engaged in discussions over the development of an anti-counterfeiting agreement.
According to the Ministry of Economic Development, the goal of ACTA is to set a new, higher benchmark for intellectual property enforcement that countries can join on a voluntary basis.
The discussions represent a co-operative effort by international governments to respond to the increase in global trade of counterfeit goods and pirated copyright protected works.