EEC votes ‘No’ on

Written By: - Date published: 1:45 pm, July 13th, 2009 - 15 comments
Categories: copyright - Tags: , ,

shouldcopyright, the site that lets you write your own parody of the upcoming referendum question, has been issued with a takedown notice by the Electoral Enrolment Centre.

It’s a shame that the EEC hasn’t had a sense of humour about this but, more importantly, it reveals once again the weakness of our free speech protections in New Zealand.

In the US, a parody or satire that uses copyrighted material is protected as fair use, which permits things like this. In New Zealand, you’re not allowed to make fun of an organisation using its copyrighted material or imitations – like party logos. this gives organisations a great tool to stomp out grassroots critics.

Creative Freedom NZ has a more detailed report here.

– Marty G

15 comments on “EEC votes ‘No’ on”

  1. Lew 1

    What’s interesting is that, in the USA, Fair Use provisions can be applied in order to protect satirical works as free speech under the first amendment, even when the copyright holder disagrees that the use is fair (Campbell v Acuff-Rose is the usually-cited example). So the issue is explicitly political expression, whereas in NZ satire isn’t protected because there is no guaranteed protection for political speech here.

    Still, the net effect – which seems to have been that Dylan put the copyright statement and URL on each question, in order to comply with the EC’s licensing terms – isn’t so bad.


  2. Graeme 2

    The Electoral Commission is not the same as the Electoral Enrolment Centre.

  3. Tim Ellis 3

    That’s a shame. There were a lot of amusing should-a expressions going up.

  4. felix 4

    Just to be clear: The site isn’t actually being taken down?

  5. Matthew Hooton 5

    Asking the question you feature above would be a more sensible use of tax dollars than the one being asked later this month. Given that $9 million is being spent on asking that question, perhaps the Prime Minister could arrange for your question to also be asked as part of the same exercise. The marginal cost could not be all that much.

    • felix 5.1

      Actually Matthew, unless you remove the word “good” the question above is just as meaningless as the current referendum.

      Jesus man, sharpen up.

      • Graeme 5.1.1

        You dispute that political parody can be good?

        • felix

          Did I? Where?

          • Graeme

            The common concern people have with the use of the word “good” in the actual referendum is that it implied that a smack can be used as part of good parental correction. If one disputes this, then answering the question can be tortuous.

            I don’t see that the same problem arises with the word “good” in the question “should infringing on copyright as part of good political parody be a criminal offence in New Zealand?”

            Only if one thinks that political parody cannot be good would the use of the word “good” be as bad it is in the child discipline question. It’s use in the above question does not make the question meaningless.

            • felix

              “I don’t see that the same problem arises…”

              I don’t remember saying that either. Learn to read.

              Hint: What’s the difference between “good political parody” and “bad political parody”?

              Now read the question again and stop bothering me with this dim-witted bullshit.

  6. Just to let you know – after making a few changes to the site, I seem to have convinced the EEC that they should leave the site alone.

    I suspect a few calls from media organisations helped as well – it was poised to make it into the mainstream.

    In some ways I would have liked it to go further, as I think a larger focus on the lack of fair use provisions in NZ copyright law would have been a good thing, but I probably don’t need the hassle.

    At no point was I considering removing the site, or substantially changing it.

  7. lprent 7

    Great. It has been a considerable source of amusement to me to see how tortured some of the ‘questions’ have been.

    Perhaps referendum question makers should have to spend some playtime putting their questions in front of bloggers for a month or so. Probably make the questions more readable

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