Artists mount campaign against S92 opposes 'guilt upon accusation'

Pressure against Labour's copyright law amendments continues to mount — and now it's artists up in arms with the launch of a new ginger group the Creative Freedom Foundation (CFF).

Creative Freedom launched yesterday to unite artists against the proposed changes in copyright law, changes, they say, that were made in the name of protecting creativity.

CFF's first campaign is against a proposed law in New Zealand: Section 92 of the Copyright Amendment Act, which, it says, assumes "guilt upon accusation" by cutting off internet connections and websites on accusations of copyright infringement without evidence or trial.

CFF co-founder and director Bronwyn Holloway-Smith says the campaign is a first step, aiming to create a united voice for artists in opposition to the law and other laws like it.

While the foundation is for artists, a petition against section 92 on its website can be signed by anyone, she says.

CFF plans to add forum functionality to its site to foster discussion about the issue and identify other areas that may require similar action.

Holloway-Smith says she sees such shifts in copyright law as an international trend. However, New Zealand also has its own issues to deal with and is different from other countries.

She says she definitely saw a gap in representation in New Zealand on these issues.

"A lot of people are against this when they find out about it, but the mainstream media haven't really picked up on it," she says.

"As the natural world meets the digital opportunities are opening up for artists to connect with new audiences across the world," Creative Freedom says on its website. "However, with the digitisation of media the lines between use and copy have become blurred. Laws regulating the act of copying have failed to keep pace with technology and soon ISPs will be forced to take down internet connections and websites of anyone accused (not convicted) of copyright infringement. Copyright law is now having the effect of limiting artists, restricting businesses, and harming public rights. The Creative Freedom Foundation speaks for artists concerned at this trend and through Our Goals we seek to bring Copyright Law into the 21st Century."

In September, a bevy of IT and internet interest groups came together to criticise Section 92A of the new copyright law.

“Section 92A has achieved one thing, and one thing only”, Telecommunications Carriers Forum (TCF) CEO Ralph Chivers said, “uniting the ICT sector and others who will be affected in an unprecedented show of solidarity against it.”

In a joint statement, the TCF, InternetNZ, ISPANZ, TUANZ, New Zealand Computer Society and Women in Technology said the law is deeply flawed and will not work.

CFF was founded in by Holloway-Smith and Matthew Holloway.

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