The NZ Parliament website has been inaccessible from outside of NZ this week (or at least inaccessible from London where TheyWorkForYou.co.nz is based).
The outage has been attributed to Anonymous launching a distributed denial of service attack against the NZ parliament website, and the parliament in response blocking access to overseas IP addresses in order to mitigate the DDoS attack.
The TheyWorkForYou.co.nz project has been on hold, with no updates to the site’s parliament content since January 2010.
In response to Parliament apparently blocking the official parliament website to overseas visitors, we have updated TheyWorkForYou.co.nz with parliament debates from January 2010 to April 2011. So recent NZ Parliament content is once again visible to the rest of the world.
TheyWorkForYou.co.nz is wearing the blackout theme to protest against guilt on accusation being brought into law by Parliament’s passing of the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill on 14 April 2011.
An Anonymous youtube message
to New Zealand says:
… the passing of the Infringing File Sharing bill is both a form of censorship and invasion of privacy … that one is guilty until proven innocent is an unlawful and unjust policy.
We do not believe that one, when accused of copyright infringement, should be questioned by their internet service provider and eligible to a $15,000 fine unless proven innocent.
We do not believe that one, when accused of copyright infringement, should be sentenced to six months suspension of Internet usage unless proven innocent.
We do not believe that one, when accused of copyright infringement, should be called a criminal in the eyes of Government for the single act of accessing information unless proven innocent.
In the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act 2011, Section 122P enables a district court, at the request of a rights owner, to make a suspension order requiring an Internet service provider to suspend the Internet account of an accused account holder for up to up to 6 months.
Section 122Q enables a district court, at the request of a rights owner, to make an order requiring an Internet service provider to disclose to a rights owner the name and contact details of an account holder.
Creative Freedom Foundation, which represent thousands of New Zealand artists, has stated this replacement to the previous Copyright Act Section 92A is a:
Internet Termination Law that harms many people for the actions of one.
We don’t cut off a family’s postal service if one person uses it to break the law.
We don’t cut off phones or electricity because someone plays music too loud.
How can it be OK to cut off the internet? The internet is now an essential utility for NZ homes and businesses.
In the Commerce Committee report on the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill the Green Party expressed their view that Internet disconnection was not warranted, stating:
The Green Party applauded the introduction of this legislation, as it began to address the significant failings of its predecessor.
The Green Party has always opposed, and continues to oppose, termination (account suspension) as a remedy for infringing file sharing. We believe it is disproportionate to the problem and would not solve it. The compromise before the committee isn’t a compromise on this issue at all. It is just a delay in implementation of this ill-considered remedy.
The Green Party asserts that there is a danger in heavy-handed regulation for a problem that may only be a temporary result of new technologies upsetting traditional business models.
The use of fines rather than Internet suspension is a more appropriate sanction for file sharing, and the punishments should be proportionate to the crime.
Citizens are not denied the right to use their telephones because they happened to be used in the commission of a crime, and this legislation should not set any precedent. Access to the Internet has become a necessity in an era when more and more public and private services are only provided online.
While supporting the bill in principle, the Green Party opposes the retention of termination in the legislation.
Recent Wikileaks releases of US Embassy cables tell us that as New Zealand was working on the previous round of copyright reform in 2008, the US was actively lobbying several cabinet members.
According the leaked cables, in 2009, when the new Government said it would redraft the unpopular Section 92A, the US offered to help with drafting the law changes.
You can see which parties voted for the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill here.