Now librarians come out against copyright law

Librarians have joined the chorus of opposition to controversial changes to New Zealand's copyright laws, writing to ICT minister Steven Joyce to express their concerns.

The letter was sent last week by the librarians' association, LIANZA, covering issues such as the definition of internet service provider in the legislation which, LIANZA says, includes any person or organisation with a website.

The letter also questions the so-called guilt by accusation provisions that will require ISPs to act on accusations of illegal access of copyright materials by users, even to the point of cutting off service in the case of people accused repeatedly of infringement.

LIANZA recommends the definition of internet service provider be amended and that section 92A, teh section requiring ISPs to enforce complaints, be repealed before to the law is implemented at the end of February.

Meanwhile, the Creative Freedom Foundation (CFF), is taking the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA), to task over its support of the law. APRA represents musicians and manages their royalties.

The CFF, which was formed in opposition to the Copyright (New Technologies) Amendment Act which usshered in the changes, is expressing its disappointment that the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ) and APRA are continuing to support section 92A.

The CFF has wheeled out two APRA members to question the organisation's position and an alleged lack of consultation with members.

"As an APRA member, the thing that really strikes me about their public position is that it's not based on consultation with actual members (or, if it was, not all of them.)," says APRA member and Wellington musician Phil Brownlee.

"It disturbs me that APRA seem to be uncritically repeating the (arguably fallacious) arguments of the big international publishers, which, from my point of view, are based on flawed understandings of the technological and social changes we're in the middle of."

Another APRA member, Anthony Milas, says the law is poorly written and poorly thought-out and could lead to abuse of the human rights.

"If anything the public backlash sure to result from such a situation will make it even more difficult to educate the public and convince lawmakers of the necessity of sensible laws to protect creators rights."

Computerworld has called APRA for comment and will update this story when that is available.