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Jesse Brown: Worldwide copyfight heats up down under

By Jesse Brown, CBC technology columnist:

Chalk one up for the copyfight.

An atrocious amendment to New Zealand’s copyright law was slated to go into effect this week: it would have required ISPs to kick users and sites off of the Net based on unproven allegations of copyright infringement. Under the now infamous Section 92A of the New Zealand Copyright Act, major media companies would have had the ability to ban citizens from the Net entirely, leaving users no recourse.

After a flurry of live and virtual protests, including an internet blackout, Prime Minister John Key has delayed 92A for a month. It’s set to go into effect on March 27th - but only if ISPs and copyright holders can figure out a more reasonable implementation plan, one that it is assumed will allow users to contest allegations.

If no such plan can be agreed upon, section 92A will be scrapped.

The successful New Zealand copyright protests coincided with the ongoing Pirate Bay trial in Sweden, where similarly exuberant copyfighters took to the streets in celebration and protest.

Meanwhile, Montrealer Brett Gaylor’s NFB documentary RIP: A Remix Manifesto is chalking up awards and fans as it tears through the international festival circuit. With Canada’s new Copyright laws still looming, 2009 is shaping up to be the year of the worldwide copy fight.

The optics alone are the stuff of a Hollywood movie: young rebels and artists united against powerful conglomerates.

You’d think Hollywood would get that.

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