Posts by Leon Tan

  • Hard News: The file-sharing bill, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    What the Wikileaks information suggests (thanks anth and Paul Campbell) is in fact far worse even that what you propose... (and I do not disagree that there are problems with elections - I think the long duration history of 'democracy' shows there are other options also, such as sortition). It suggests that New Zealand as a client state of the US, effectively engages in what Charles Tilly calls a form of 'organized crime' against its own constituencies.

    In the case of online file-sharing, it appears that both NZ and American governments have taken on media firms as 'clients,' the former at the behest of the latter. By certifying the claims and contention of media firms in the form of the new legislation, the NZ government clearly functions to protect its clients by eliminating/neutralizing enemies, who in this case, happen to be its own citizens and constituencies. For its citizens, the price for the protection of the NZ government is conformism with the (American) copyright status quo. Such protection is withdrawn in the case of potentially all file-sharers, and replaced with violence in the form of termination/suspension. This is what we may call the 'copyright racket.'

    Auckland • Since May 2011 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The file-sharing bill, in reply to Sacha,

    'The Attorney-General considered that the special enforcement regime for addressing file sharing was inconsistent with s.14 (“the right to freedom of expression”) but that, as the objective of the legislation was to provide for an enforcement regime for instances of file sharing that infringe copyright, it amounted to an important and significant objective and this justified the infringement.

    The Attorney-General’s analysis suggests that it would be hard to get the legislation set aside.'

    A direct quote from the letter from the HRC to me, for what its worth. It should be noted that the ICESCR committee has in fact advised that all governments should conduct a HR impact assessment of prevailing IP regimes, and that what is left out is the right to participation in cultural life. You can find out more about the contentious politics of file sharing in an article I wrote last year -- http://www.ctheory.net/articles.aspx?id=672

    Auckland • Since May 2011 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The file-sharing bill,

    Giovanni, you read that right, yes, and yes I am saying that the public is not directly electing Ministers, nor the AG. Saying the AG is elected 'just like any other member of parliament' is not entirely accurate. From what I recall of the voting forms, there are instances where an MP is directly elected, then there are list MPs.

    Of course a great deal of the government is not subject to democratic oversight. The tragedy is that the appearance of democracy (representative democracy) is hardly democratic.

    It's not just a matter of the Bill of Rights. NZ is also party to the ICESCR, and from memory, is party to the UDHR also. Its no coincidence these are not binding. The point is to make them so.

    Sacha, I found this out as a result of lodging a complaint with the HRC. There is no link, as it was a letter to me.

    Auckland • Since May 2011 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The file-sharing bill,

    According to New Zealand’s Human Rights Commission, in the view of the Attorney-General, the recent Copyright (infringing file sharing) Amendment Bill passed by the New Zealand Government DOES in fact infringe on the basic human rights of New Zealanders. However, since the Attorney-General deems the objective of the legislation to be important and significant (namely protecting corporate interests), it justifies the abuse of New Zealanders. What is significant to note is that the New Zealand Attorney-General is not elected, and therefore not subject to democratic oversight by the people of New Zealand. This is concerning as it means that the Attorney-General may make all sorts of decisions on behalf of, or in this case, against New Zealand constituencies, without there being any recourse to corrective action by the public. Needless to say, it is also extremely alarming that the official of a democratically elected government would decide in favour of a media oligopoly, flagrantly disregarding human rights frameworks.

    Auckland • Since May 2011 • 4 posts Report Reply