We’ve got some good news to report on the “three strikes” front: with the March 27th implementation deadline fast approaching, the government of New Zealand has wisely chosen to abandon its three strikes law, at least for the time being. The law, as you will recall, would have required ISPs to kick users off of their networks after receiving three notices alleging that a user had engaged in acts of copyright infringement. As I noted in an earlier blog post, the passage of this law was met with an international public outcry, a well-organized netroots campaign, a series of public protests, resistance from ISPs and OSPs and worldwide press coverage–all of which likely influenced the government to withdraw its support for the mandate.
Here’s what New Zealand’s Commerce Minister Simon Power said in a statement released yesterday:
“Allowing section 92A to come into force in its current format would not be appropriate given the level of uncertainty around its operation.
“These discussions have exposed some aspects of section 92A which require further consideration,” Mr Power said.
“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.”
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. 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. Needless to say, this represents a significant victory for copyright reform activists and the public and deals a major blow to the content industry trade groups who supported this wrongheaded and terribly misguided approach to combating piracy.