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Kiwis scrap 'three strikes' P2P policy

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New Zealand has temporarily abandoned its plans to enact a French-style "three-strikes" internet policy that forces ISPs to disconnect customers repeatedly accused of illegally downloading copyrighted materials.

Kiwi's controversial section 92a of the Copyright Act was shown the door by Prime Minister John Key on Monday following public and corporate protests and a well-organized internet "blackout" campaign.

The laws, which would have come into force at the end of February, has been postponed for a month. It required ISPs to ban users repeatedly accused of copyright breaches, without requiring the allegations to be legally proven.

"Section 92a is not going to come into force as originally written," Key said. "We have now asked the minister of commerce to start work on a replacement section."

Commerce Minister Simon Power said in a statement yesterday that the legislation will be amended, but didn't provide a timetable for beginning to smooth over 92a's glaring omissions.

"While the government remains intent on tackling this problem, the legislation itself needs to be re-examined and reworked to address concerns held by stakeholders and the government," Power said.

Eh — we'll just close our eyes and pretend "stakeholders" means "citizens the government represents." Clearly, TelstraClear, one of the country's major ISPs, refusing to sign on to the proposed law made more of an impression than an angry electorate.

The government said it will re-introduce 92a following a review, but opponents are claiming a grass-roots victory.

"While the ultimate fate of section 92A of the New Zealand copyright act remains unclear, it's unlikely that anything resembling the proposed implementation of the mandate will see the light of day, given the public's response," wrote net watchdog group, Public Knowledge. "At the very least, it seems that stakeholders like ISPs, OSPs and consumer advocates will now be asked for their input, which will hopefully lead to a more balanced and reasonable implementation."

Keys, meanwhile, has stated he refuses to let the internet to become a "Wild West," where copyright owners have no recourse against internet piracy. ®

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