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Earthquake emergency drives Kiwi copyright bill

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The New Zealand government has outraged internet users by rushing through a new anti-P2P copyright bill under cover of an emergency session of Parliament.

Parliament had been called to deal with the country's Christchurch earthquake. During the session, it also pushed through its file-sharing bill under an "urgency" motion. The bill puts into place a "three strikes" policy to end unauthorised file-sharing on P2P networks.

Penalties for ignoring a warning to cease unauthorised file sharing include termination of internet accounts (under a Cabinet order), and fines of up to $15,000.

The government argues that escalating disconnection to Cabinet level provides greater protection for individuals than laws previously mooted, since Cabinet can't be expected to consider every complaint from the content industries.

The process will be administered by NZ's Copyright Tribunal, which currently has three part-time members.

In one of the most hilarious examples of URL editorialising ever seen, NZ publication Stuff (URL NSFW) called the decision "totally f***ed".

Even moderate and usually fairly neutral individuals have expressed outrage at the bill. Paul Brislen, CEO of telecom user group TUANZ, quoted from the Vendetta movie trailer that "people should not fear governments – governments should fear the people". ®

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