InternetNZ has joined Vocus is its criticism of legal action by Sky TV aimed at forcing New Zealand’s largest ISPs to block access to web sites hosting pirated content.
InternetNZ CEO Jordan Carter described the move as “an extreme step in response to a problem of limited scale, and one that is unlikely to achieve the stated goal.”
Vocus consumer general manager Taryn Hamilton said Sky was seeking to be able to “pick and choose the websites Kiwis can access via Spark, Vocus, Vodafone and 2Degrees networks.”
He said the request was in direct opposition to the idea that the Internet is a free and open resource, accessible without censorship.”
Sky responded to Vocus’ claims by saying Vocus had “got it wrong,” noting: “Over 40 countries around the world have put in place laws to block [piracy] sites [including Australia and the UK] and we’re just looking to do the same.”
Sky claimed that Internet piracy threatened thousand of New Zealand jobs and entire industries. “With piracy, not only is the sport and entertainment content that we love at risk, but so are the livelihoods of the thousands of people employed by these industries,” Sky said.
“Illegally sharing or viewing content impacts a vast number of people and jobs including athletes, actors, artists, production crew, customer service representatives, event planners, caterers and many, many more.”
Carter said blocking would likely not achieve its purpose and could even make matters worse. “Site blocking is very easily evaded by people with the right skills or tools. Those who are deliberate pirates will be able to get around site blocking without difficulty,” he said.
"If blocking is ordered, it risks driving content piracy further underground, with the help of easily-deployed and common Internet tools. This could well end up making the issues that Sky is facing even harder to police in the future.”
He said InternetNZ was taking legal advice to understand better whether the Court has the ability to order such a block.
Vocus also said blocking would be futile and claimed that legal, affordable streaming services were undermining use of pirating sites.
“According to Vocus stats, New Zealand interest in The Pirate Bay has less than halved since Netflix launched in New Zealand. Today traffic to The Pirate Bay is only 23 per cent of its 2013 peak and Netflix has fast become the largest content provider in the country,” Vocus said.