Parliament is at risk of fines or having its internet disconnected due to the Government’s new file-sharing law which comes into force today, the Green Party says. “There doesn’t seem to be a plan for Parliament to deal with the new copyright law,” Green Party ICT spokesperson Gareth Hughes says. “This law could bring the gears of government to a grinding halt because the holder of the account — Parliamentary Services — provides internet access to hundreds of users, anyone of whom could cause infringement notices to be sent.” He says the Speaker has refused to comment in the House about the implications of the new law. Hughes had written to the Speaker to clarify the issue. The Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act comes into force on September 1. A clause in the law means internet users will be under scrutiny from today, August 11. “Like Parliament, schools, libraries and universities run the risk of fines or disconnection,” Hughes says. “Unitec in Auckland has even said they might cease providing internet services for students due to possible copyright liability. “The Government has a responsibility to ensure that public institutions can navigate around the new law and not run the risk of fines or disconnection. “By not providing information or advice and relying on InternetNZ, Internet Service Providers, and the media, [Justice Minister] Power has left schools and universities in a legal grey area.” InternetNZ has set up a website to advise people about the new law. The Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act was passed through Parliament under urgency earlier this year. Only the Green Party opposed the passage of the law.
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