Thursday, June 9, 2011

Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right

Sometimes you see a debate where both sides are picking positions that just seem crazy. Like recently in New Zealand. This story is full of so much fail all round. It describes new penalties that New Zealand has enacted for copyright enfringement:
This past April, to the dismay of many, New Zealand enacted The Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Bill to combat online infringement. The legislation allows for penalties of up to NZ$15,000 ($12,000) to be paid to the copyright owner, repeat infringers can have their Internet account suspended for up to six months.
Got that? Download something off BitTorrent, and they cut off your internet for 6 months. They could have just called it the "Punishing Small-Time Nobodies at Excessive Levels in a Vain Attempt to Undo the Impact of the Internet on Record Company Profits Act of 2011".

So how does New Zealand Justice Minister Simon Power defend this turd of a piece of legislation?:
“The legislation that we passed a number of weeks ago now was thoroughly consulted over a two-year period,” he said. “I’m confident that it’s been through just about every test and every forum it could have been to get where it is today.”....he thought the agreement between ISPs and copyright holders was “satisfactory.” 
Translation: It may suck, but we sure read a lot of stuff and tried hard to focus group it through all the various lobby groups. Except consumers. Whoops.

So, you're faced with an unpopular, draconian Bill stuffed fat with measures to protect special interest business groups. How would you go about building a consensus for repeal? Why, with ridiculous hyperbole and leftist agitprop, of course!:
However, last week Frank La Rue, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, submitted a report concluding that disconnecting Internet users, “regardless of the justification provided,” is a violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights because it limits the type of media individuals are allowed to use to express themselves.
So now internet access is a human right, eh? I wonder how many generations of my ancestors toiled and perished, not knowing that they were having their rights violated by not being able to post to a blog.

This is the worst kind of modish, 'everything that might be desirable is now a right' view of the world. Doesn't the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression have better things to do than criticise New Zealand? Like, you know, perhaps talk about how Syria is closed off to the world while its government shoots hundreds of unarmed protesters.

Isn't it enough to point out that this is an egregiously bad draw, ramping up punishment levels to vainly compensate for the fact that enforcement  practically impossible? Isn't it enough to make that point that seldomly enforced laws with extreme penalties result in hugely inequitable variation in outcomes between people committing the same crime, with most getting away free and a tiny number losing everything? Isn't it enough to question what actual social harm this whole damn exercise is even meant to remedy?

If there's one thing designed to unite people in favour of a domestic policy, it's having UN busybodies declaring it against international law. Sheesh, with friends like these...

As Kissinger reputedly said about the Iran/Iraq war - it's a shame they can't both lose.

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