New Zealand delays controversial internet bill, may scrap law if it isn’t workable

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2642683397_77c96eda60 The New Zealand Government has decided to delay the controversial amendment to its copyright act for one month, as public backlash and the IT industry were against the law, Prime Minister John Key said today. The timeframe will also give the industry to find a workable solution to the new law.

The new amendment, in particular – Section 92A of the Copyright Amendment Act – would see any internet service provider forced to shut down an internet connection to one of its consumers if there was any accusation of copyright infringement, even if there was no evidence against him.

Large numbers of websites, blogs and Twitter accounts “blacked” out their websites/profiles to raise awareness, as the law is due to come into effect on Saturday.

If there was no possible solution, however, Prime Minister Key has said that the section could be suspended. But if there was an agreement, it will review the section in the next six months to see if it is working as it was intended when it was introduced.

Both the current government and opposition parties supported the bill under the previous government led by Helen Clark, but several MPs have changed their minds, according to Stuff.co.nz.

“Obviously our preference is for the parties to reach a compromise agreement with each other and hopefully the law will work properly,” Mr. Key told the press today.

“If it doesn’t we will change it.”

Both the InternetNZ and TUANZ groups have said that they are happy with the month delay and a possible suspension if no agreement can be reached.

“New Zealanders can breathe a sigh of relief that their Internet access is no longer under threat due to unproven allegations of copyright infringement. Section 92A still needs to be fully repealed. It is disproportionate and unfit for purpose. But this deferral is a good start,” Executive Director for InternetNZ Keith Davidson said in a statement.

“We thank, and congratulate the government, and Parliament as a whole, for listening and acting on the concerns expressed,” Chief Executive for TUANZ Ernie Newman has said in a separate statement.

Image from: Photography by Chris/Flickr