News Section Logo NEWS - Return to news section


Google Argues For Changes To New Zealand Copyrght Law

Posted by: , 17:47 AEST, Tue July 19, 2011

Permanent Link     Add Comments
submit to reddit
Recently released submissions from Google in regards to New Zealand's new copyright laws show that the tech giant is concerned about the "presumption of guilt" in these new changes

New Zealand's new copyright laws has stirred controversy ever since it was voted through in parliament back in April (and about to come into effect in September), but now, tech giant Google is wading into the debate.

The recently passed amendments allows rights holders to ask ISPs, for a $25 fee, to send warnings to users suspected of pirating content, and if that user refuses to stop their activities, the rights holder can take the case to the Copyright Tribunal. The tribunal can fine the user up to $15,000.

But Google feels there are serious issues the law changes are overlooking. In submissions published recently, Google's major concern appears to be the "presumption of guilt" element of the law, going against the generally accepted principle of "innocent until proven guilty". When cases are brought up to the Copyright Tribunal, the legislation forces the tribunal to accept the mere allegations are fact of copyright infringement. 

And according to Google's interpretation of the law, it means that even if the tribunal feels the rights holder do not have a strong case, they must rule against the alleged offender, as the legislation calls for them to "presume" guilt. Google argues that the tribunal should independently rule on whether infringement has occurred or not.

Google is also concerned that, since rights holders have resources at their disposal not available to that of the offender normally.

Other submissions, which include one from Juha Saarinen as an Associate Member of the NZ Computer Society, questioned the awarding of penalties to rights holders on content that is not for sale in New Zealand, arguing that "If the download caused no loss to the rights holder, the Tribunal cannot award penalties against the person accused of infringing."

Are you concerned that recent arguments for tougher copyright legislation all center around the idea that mere allegation and untested evidence, primarily IP addresses, now constitute as proven guilt when it comes to handing out punishments, such as account suspension and fines? Post your opinion in this news article's comments section, or in this forum thread:


Related News:

News Icon Anonymous Plans New Zeland Government Attack Over New Copyright Laws

posted by: Anne N, 18:37 AEST, Tue April 19, 2011

News Icon Congress Wants Google To Do More To Stop Online Piracy, Including Filtering Results

posted by: Sean F, 00:13 AEST, Fri April 8, 2011

News Icon US To New Zealand: We'll Help Write Your Copyright Laws, Pay For Copyright Crackdown

posted by: Jason F, 15:46 AEST, Wed May 4, 2011

News Icon Google Stands Up To Proposed New Copyright Laws, Will Fight It All The Way

posted by: Sean F, 16:31 AEST, Thu May 19, 2011

News Icon MPAA and US Congress' Love Affair Blossoms, As New Legislation Being Considered

posted by: Sean F, 18:02 AEST, Tue April 5, 2011