New Zealand Scrapping Copyright Law, Will Rewrite Completely

WELLINGTON, New Zealand – New Zealand is looking at tossing out the country's long-established copyright law and starting again from scratch.

The original Kiwi legislation was drafted long before online concerns over intellectual property and then amended in sections over the years. This has been the case with many copyright laws worldwide, really, as most were initially implemented prior to the existence of the global Web.

Recently, New Zealand tabled plans for a three strikes bill to combat illegal file sharing; the proposal was shut down because opponents argued it would be based on accusations instead of concrete evidence and valid convictions.

The National Business Review reports New Zealand officials said in a statement: "The Copyright Act was written in the pre-Internet age, and does not address any of the complexities surrounding file sharing, format shifting, and other modern issues such as DVD copying – problems the last government was attempting to fix in a piecemeal fashion."

So now, the battle will rage between rights-holder interests and industries and consumers/Internet users.  As TechDirt suggests, New Zealand could become a copyright test-lab for new approaches and 21st century thinking.

In related news Down Under, Australia's Federal Court is hearing a case that challenges that country's three-strikes provision in Section 92A of its Copyright Act. The Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft is facing off against Internet Service Prodicer iiNet, whose users are accused of copyright infringement via illegal uploading and downloading. The Standard newspaper reports this case could well be a litmus test for not just Aussie copyright law, but similar provisions in other countries.