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New Zealand Blackout


New Zealand Blackout

New Zealand Blackout

An “Internet Blackout” is what Kiwi activists and artists call their strike against New Zealand’s “3 strikes law” which will be effective on February 28. The “3 strikes law” is a law which applies to internet pirates. Alleged violators will have internet access cut-off after they have been caught with 3 acts of piracy.


The protest movement’s name seems to have been taken from the country’s number one rugby team, the All Blacks.


The Kiwi group called the Creative Freedom Foundation agrees that infringement of copyright is wrong, but it does not agree to the proposed penalty which is ISP disconnection. It believes the penalty does not fit the crime.

This is especially so since law of New Zealand relies on the copyright holder’s evidence and allegations. The 3 strikes law has no provision for oversight by the judge or any other kind of process for the accused to defend himself against the evidence of infringement of P2P copyright.

The Copyright Act of 1984 of New Zealand was amended last year in several ways. But section 92A is by far the most controversial. It states that, internet service providers should have the capacity to implement the law by having the ability to terminate the accounts registered under the ISP if that client is a repeat offender of this law.

Internet service providers argue that this section of the law is not very clear, but they have no choice except to follow it hence are coordinating with copyrights-holders to find a middle ground which is more acceptable to all parties concerned.

The Creative Freedom website holds that infringement of copyright is wrong, but it disagrees with the punishment which would mean that individuals, hospitals, and schools may suffer the loss of their internet connection based merely on accusations. The Creative Freedom group staged a protest on the grounds of the Parliament of Wellington and showed state officials their petition which contained over 12,000 signatures.

Protestors arrived wearing placards in plain black, replicating the "Internet blackout" started by Creative Freedom.

A major blackout of the web was held on February 23 of the same year wherein people were encouraged to substitute their blog page or site with that of a simple black page.


Twitter members had taken to replacing their avatars with totally black ones as a signal that they are for this movement. The British actor, Stephen Fry, who has over two hundred thousand followers on Twitter, has joined the campaign, his bio has been replaced with a black box.

It is generally believed that this kind of protest may not be the thing to call the attention of national politicians to change the law. It is most unlikely that blacking out Facebook and Twitter profiles will mean much to these people. If the New Zealand internet industry’s complaints have not been heeded, it is improbable that black avatars will be more effective. Furthermore, actual signatures instead of e-signatures (which, as politicians know, are much easier t collect) would have been more effective.



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