In which justice minister Simon Power responds to parliamentary questions about our third largest ISP’s withdrawal from talks on the stalled Copyright Amendment (New Technologies) Act, and has a dig at InternetNZ's deputy executive director, Jordan Carter.
On one level, it seems that TelstraClear’s withdrawal totally derails the government’s request for ISPs to reach an agreement with rights holders, led by RIANZ, on a code of practice for implementing the controversial section 92A of the new law (which, as you may have heard, requires ISPs to formulate a procedure for dealing with complaints about alleged copyright infringers including, ultimately, termination of their account).
After all, the Telecommunications Carriers Forum, which represents all major ISPs and telcos, requires UN Security Council-style 100% consensus for its code to be ratified.
As TCF chief executive Ralph Chivers says, infrastructure supporting an agreement, such as an independent mediator, is not possible if the ISP industry has broken ranks.
Against that context, we come to question time in Parliament.
Cheerfully ignoring the fact that her own ex-collegue, Judith Tizard, is the mother of s92, Labour’s communications and IT spokeswoman, Clare Curran, is trying to push her private member’s bill, The Copyright (Internet Service Provider Account Termination Policy) Bill, which seeks to abolish the controversial clause, and probing Mr Power for reaction to TelstraClear bailing on the TCF talks.
Over to Hansard (this is an uncorrected transcript still subject to correction and further editing):
11. Copyright Act 1994—Section 92A
11. CLARE CURRAN (Labour-Dunedin South) to the Minister of
Commerce: Will the Government support the policy of amending
section 92A of the Copyright Act 1994 as set out in my Copyright
(Internet Service Provider Account Termination Policy) Bill;
if not, why not?
Hon SIMON POWER (Minister of Commerce) : No, not as set out in
the member’s bill. The Government’s policy is to give Internet
providers and right-holders one month to come up with a code of
practice. That time frame has yet to expire, and although there
are some challenges I am not prepared to prejudge the outcome.
Clare Curran: How does the Government expect section 92A of the
Copyright Act to be able to come into force given that TelstraClear
has vetoed the code of practice being developed by the significant
Hon SIMON POWER: I am advised that the rest of the Telecommunications
Carriers Forum, the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand,
and other right-holders are making real progress on the code
of practice. If TelstraClear wants to be excluded from the arrangement,
that is its choice. I met with right-holders as recently as 7
o’clock this morning, and according to the member’s press
release yesterday, her bill requires ministerial approval of
any code before section 92A comes into force, meaning that it
still relies on the parties coming to an agreement first.
Clare Curran: Will the Government establish an independent adjudicator
to resolve copyright disputes; if so, who; and if not, why not?
Hon SIMON POWER: I am not prepared to prejudge the outcome of
the negotiations that are continuing at the moment. I find the
Labour Party’s position on this issue rather confusing. The
member wants to keep section 92A but amend it; the former Minister,
Judith Tizard, said that it should come into force as it is,
explaining that it was left deliberately vague as “at no stage
did I think … I had the answer to the process”; and the Labour
candidate for Hunua, Mr Jordan Carter, is the contact for yesterday’s
press release from InternetNZ that said that section 92A should
be dumped. Maybe Labour needs its own code of practice.
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