E-tales - S92A: the SaaS threat

Copyright law could have very chilling effect on local SaaS providers

Earholes, eyeholes, loopholes

The law must strive to cover all possible eventualities and close off all potential loopholes, even at the cost of sounding slightly ridiculous. As a recent example, an e-taler looking through the Search and Surveillance Powers Bill wondered whether one curious clause had been sparked by a real legal test.

The Bill defines a “visual surveillance device” as (deep breath) “any electronic, mechanical, electromagnetic, optical or electrooptical instrument, apparatus, equipment, or other device that is used or is capable of being used to observe, or to observe and record, a private activity.”

However, the description “does not include spectacles, contact lenses, or a similar device used to correct subnormal vision of the user to no better than normal vision,” says the bill.

Has a lawyer ever sought to have evidence ruled inadmissible because one of the police officers observing his client’s activities was wearing glasses and therefore illicitly using a “visual surveillance device” without the appropriate warrant?

And yes, another clause pronounces a hearing aid not to be an “interception device” within the meaning of the bill.

S92A: the SaaS threat

Online accounting software Xero recently announced it had gained 1,000 new customers in 50 days. To illustrate its success, the company used a slightly altered Tintin picture of a rocket with the Xero logo, flying into space from somewhere in the Balkans.

In commenting “Lance” notes that using the picture, which he says is not in the public domain, was interesting, especially in light of the Section 92A copyright debate and subsequent “blackout” protests.

“The incipient New Zealand copyright law would have a very chilling effect on SaaS providers — this post could cause a take down notice [to be] sent to your ISP and all your hosting [would be] disconnected,” Lance wrote.

We at e-tales guess nobody would be able to complete their tax returns and the government would rewrite the law quicksmart.

Something fishy

So many company names these days, particularly in the ICT sector, have degenerated into a set of letters (usually three).

It can be instructive, amusing or sometimes, deathly boring, to find out what the name originally was.

Australian company MBS, for example, makes surveillance cameras.

The local agent, in an interview, referred to the company only by the initials and our e-taler didn’t bother to ask.

Looking up the MBS website, he notes the full form of the name is Moreton Bay Systems.

Moreton Bay, Queensland, is already known for the production of “bugs”. The better known kind is an edible species of lobster.

Letter to the editor

Digital Development Council

Stephen Bell's article "ICT Bodies try to save the Digital Development Council" lists TUANZ among various bodies allegedly trying to find alternative funding for the DDC.

That is not correct. TUANZ has accepted the demise of the DDC and moved on.

Ernie Newman

Chief Executive


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