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On the Netsafe/RIANZ agreement

November 2011

I wrote the following comment in response to this post on the Netsafe blog, regarding the agreement between Netsafe and RIANZ to carve out an exception to the three-strikes copyright legislation for schools. My comment hasn't yet shown up there, so I'm archiving it here.

My concern isn’t that Netsafe is being incoherent, but that this will be used as a defense of a broken law in terms of “see, it’s not so bad.” Depending on copyright holders and their representatives (here, both complainant and judge) to be carving out and acknowledging exceptions is a bad bad look for the rule of law.

We shouldn’t be dependent on informal back-room deals for things that should be included in the law.

Sean Lyons commented:

Sorry for the delay in posting your comment. Thought I should archive the response here too!

Thanks for the comment. I understand your point but I don’t think I share your analysis. The rights and wrongs of this law fall outside of what we are doing here as I think I explained. The argument about a “broken law” needs to go on elsewhere, and schools can and will form a part of that voice. They already are. I am not sure that the best place for that discussion is in Tribunal hearing where a school is in the dock. You can say that this arrangement as you put it helps to cover the problems with the law, but you could just as easily say that the fact that rights holders have made such an agreement is their recognition that there are groups being caught up in this where they shouldn’t be. It depends on your perspective I suppose. One last point, your reference to a “back room deal”, no one has ever tried to make anything covert here, we published the details of this widely, after all, if schools don’t know about it, there isn’t much point to it.

Matt commented:

(Further discussion is on the original post.)