US influence over copyright law undermines our democracy
The Green Party is seeking clarification over possible US intervention in the run-up to the passing of the controversial Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act under urgency recently.
A newly released Wikileaks cable shows the US Government worked closely with Government officials to ensure draft copyright legislation was expedited and protected the interests of the US recording industry.
“The latest Wikileaks cables show how vulnerable our Government is to pressure from big businesses in the USA,” said Green Party Information and Communications Technology spokesperson, Gareth Hughes.
“Both Labour and National Governments have been subject to intense lobbying from the US. Hollywood moguls shouldn’t be writing our law! … “This kind of blatant intervention in local law enforcement is undermining our democracy. …
“The New Zealand Government has been subject to intense international corporate lobbying. As the Government consults further on the current online copyright regime, it must make decisions that work for the New Zealanders that elected them, not US interests.
“However, this Government has overtly bent over backwards to make labour law suitable to Warner Brothers. Why wouldn’t they have done the same in this case behind the scenes?”
Pressure has been applied to governments (current and previous) since at least 2008. For relevant quotes from the cables and a fuller discussion see Michael Giest’s blog. An April 2009 cable, for example, stated:
Throughout the final stages of the law’s (near) implementation, the Embassy continued to met with IPR stakeholders and GNZ officials to ascertain progress and encourage resolution. To determine how a “workable” section 92A provision can be secured, Econoff met with Rory McLeod, Director at Ministry of Economic Development (MED) with responsibility for IPR within GNZ along with Paula Wilson, Deputy Director for Trade Negotiations at MFAT, and was given assurance that the government remains committed to redrafting Section 92A.
Embassy will continue to stress with GNZ officials the need for a shorter rather than protracted timeline for the redraft and will ascertain the details of a notice and comment period for public submissions once released by GNZ. During this hiatus we’ve proposed holding DVC(s) between NZ and U.S. interlocutors to possibly help with drafting and as a public diplomacy tool to dispel public misperceptions about proper role of IPR protection.
It seems clear that American interests have had a lot to do with drafting this particular NZ law. How many others? How stupid would we have to be give them any further leverage through the TPP? They’re already gunning for Pharmac. I remember a time when we weren’t afraid to assert our sovereignty and our independence from America…