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Gareth Hughes at The Standard: PIPA, SOPA and NZ

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Green’s MP Gareth Hughes explains the new US internet laws that have the likes of Wikipedia upset, and why we should care Why the acronyms PIPA and SOPA should worry Kiwis

Green’s MP Gareth Hughes explains the new US internet laws that have the likes of Wikipedia upset, and why we should care:

The Green Party is deeply concerned about the Stop Internet Piracy (SOPA) and PROTECT IP (PIPA) Acts currently causing quite a stir in the US and its impacts on New Zealanders access to a free and open Internet and online businesses.

Copyright is always a balance however these proposed laws give rights-holders exceptional and unprecedented powers.

These proposed draconian laws could see Kiwi websites blocked from the US and effectively the world by blocking search engines and other websites from linking as well as terminating online payment based on allegations requiring costly litigation to remedy. Imagine a small Kiwi online business blocked from Google searches, running online advertising or even processing VISA transactions or even losing their domain name because of a US copyright allegation that they can’t afford to challenge in a US court.

“SOPA would also expand the definition of copyright infringement to include hosting a single link to a site that is alleged to contain infringing material. Thus, if an author’s blog, or a book discussion group, attracts a single post that contains a single link that goes to a site that someone accuses of copyright infringement, that site becomes one with the alleged infringer, and faces all the same sanctions—without any proof required, or due process,” writes tech expert Cory Doctorow.

It will create tremendous fear and uncertainty online and will likely stifle innovation harming business opportunities in New Zealand and internationally. eWeek puts it succinctly “The language of SOPA is so broad, the rules so unconnected to the reality of Internet technology and the penalties so disconnected from the alleged crimes that this bill could effectively kill e-commerce or even normal Internet use.

Given the importance of the Internet to our daily lives, we should be concerned, even at the bottom of the South Pacific of the impact of this US legislation. The Green Party agrees with Internet NZ and would like to see the New Zealand Government to express concern through diplomatic channels.

Full Gareth Hughes guest post at The Standard >>

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