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TelstraClear slams new kiwi download laws

CEO calls on government to break content monopolies

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The chief executive of TelstraClear, Allan Freeth, has lashed out against the pending introduction of new file sharing laws in New Zealand, which come into effect September 1.

In a public release, Freeth states that the legislation is “flawed and needs to change.”

When the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act 2011 comes into effect, the new legislation will drag ISPs into the process of identifying illegal file sharing activities and notifying account holders based on IP addresses.

The law ushers in a new set of penalties that impose fines and possible account suspension for infringing activities.

“TelstraClear respects copyright, but we respect the ever-changing needs of our customers too. At present, they are being denied the freedom to choose by companies intent on propping-up old world business models,” Freeth said.

Freeth argues that the new law will not help copyright owners defend their rights. “It may encourage parents to take more notice of what their kids are doing online, and that’s a good thing. But it won’t stop those who really want content from getting it.”

TelstraClear conducted its own research into the reasons behind illegal downloading and found that the key reasons are: the legal product takes too long to become available, it costs too much, the packaging and distribution of physical music, movies and games is unnecessary and costly, and users believe the business model is outdated and out-of-touch.

Freeth claims these “old world business models” are stifling innovation and progressive ways to police content infringement issues.

“Rather than investing in innovative ways to legally provide people with the content they want, whether music or movies, pictures or programmes, these companies choose to pressure governments into legislating. Instead of bringing in a law that we believe will not and cannot work, our government should be breaking monopolies, allowing personal choice and letting New Zealanders experience information and entertainment when the rest of the world does,” he states.

Instead, Freeth claims that the government has elected to go down a legislative path that “could turn ordinary Kiwis into law-breakers.” ®

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