InternetNZ warns of TPP dangers

InternetNZ is concerned about new restrictions on digital locks or 'technological protection measures'

InternetNZ says intellectual property rules required by the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement could unfairly restrict New Zealanders' access to content, saddle them with unwarranted criminal charges and stifle creativity.

Under the TPP all member countries must adopt shared rules on intellectual property, which means severl New Zealand laws will need to be amended to satisfy the TPP.

InternetNZ is concerned about new restrictions on digital locks or 'technological protection measures,' which, it says, restrict what New Zealanders can do with both digital content and with physical things that they have purchased. “Overseas, similar restrictions have meant people have to ask permission to repair a car or tractor, because the software in it is a copyright work. Right now, similar rules in the USA are facing a legal challenge because of those restrictive effects,” InternetNZ says.

It has aired its concerns in a submission to Parliament on the TPP Amendment Bill. InternetNZ CEAO, Jordan Carter, said: “This legislation makes some use of the exceptions allowed in the TPP, but it can and should go much further. The TPP will make New Zealand's copyright laws less fair - but Parliament can amend this draft legislation to minimise the damage."

InternetNZ notes that the TPP itself calls for a balance of rights, and suggests the use of exceptions so that copyright law does not unfairly stop people from innovating and using new technologies.

It has branded the access control TPMs “unprincipled and technology-specific,” saying: “A ‘digital lock’ restricts users from reading on another supplier’s device, or using accessibility tools such as a screen reader. A ‘digital lock’ restricts users from skipping advertising or previews before watching the title movie or television show. A ‘digital lock’ requires users to provide an email address and agree to receive messages before viewing content.”

Carter said: "It is vital for the most expansive possible set of exceptions to be put in place. Regardless of what happens with the TPP, InternetNZ supports a review of copyright law, to ensure our balance is fair and up to date."

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