We all agree that the most important thing to get right when rebuilding Christchurch is to ensure that digital copyright holders can terminate the internet accounts of online copyright infringers, so to this end the government passed the The Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill last night under the urgency granted to pass the CERA legislation.
I generally agree with Scott over at Imperator Fish, who is an intellectual property lawyer AS WELL AS a blogger. (Is it possible for one human to be so qualified on a single subject?) Owners of copyright have a right to protect their property, this law doesn’t seem too terrible at achieving that. I don’t agree with the concept that internet access is a ‘basic human right’. That’s absurd.
On the other hand, the main cause of, say, digital film piracy is the insane business model the film industry operates under. Consider the status quo: if you read about a movie that’s just been released overseas there is no practical way for you to pay to watch that movie legally until it comes to your town some weeks, or months, or sometimes years later. Then for a few weeks you can travel to your local movie theatre, queue to buy tickets and then queue to get in, then watch thirty minutes of ads and watch the movie. But if you want to watch it a few weeks later there is, once again, no legal way to do this. You have to wait for months, or years, for it to be released on DVD. Then you can rent or buy it, and watch it after sitting through various ads and copyright piracy notices. Or, at any given time during this process you can just download the movie illegally and watch it at home.
We need copyright and the rule of law and all that good stuff, but if an industry insists on following a business model so suicidally stupid it drives their customers to become criminals in order to obtain their products, the state shouldn’t exactly bend over backwards to help sustain that industry.