InternetNZ (the Internet Society of New Zealand Inc) is concerned at the paucity of detail surrounding the proposed international Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).
ACTA seeks to impose a raft of enforcement measures which have the potential to further erode citizens' fair-use rights in respect of digital copyrighted material. For instance, a global legal regime for Internet distribution of copyright protected works may be introduced.
To date, negotiations have been held behind closed doors and publicly-available information is scant, with the exception of an ACTA discussion document leaked online.
In response to a call for submissions from the Ministry of Economic Development, InternetNZ has filed a submission that expresses a range of concerns the Society has with Internet-related aspects understood to be under consideration.
For example, ACTA may see the introduction of procedures enabling rights holders to expeditiously obtain information from ISPs identifying alleged infringers, and could also introduce remedies against circumvention of technological protection measures.
InternetNZ Executive Director Keith Davidson questions the need for New Zealand to be discussing Internet provisions as part of ACTA.
"We already have legislation – the Copyright (New Technologies) Amendment Act 2008 - that covers off the illegal distribution of digital sound and video recordings via the Internet. The Act also deals with circumvention of technological prevention measures and with repeat digital copyright infringers.
"Further, the Act has only recently been passed, with many of its newly-amended and introduced provisions yet to take root and be fully tested," he says.
InternetNZ believes that the proposed ACTA Internet distribution and information technology provisions, if implemented, will do little to strengthen New Zealand's existing measures against digital copyright infringement. We are also concerned that they may coincidentally further restrict what should be the legitimate use of digital content by New Zealanders."
"We strongly urge the Government to adopt a wait-and-see approach with respect to the effectiveness of New Zealand's amended Copyright Act before committing to sweeping multilateral digital copyright enforcement measures as part of ACTA," says Davidson.
A PDF version of InternetNZ's full submission is attached and also available at the following link: www.internetnz.net.nz/issues/submissions/2008