Innovation wars hit New Zealand

CopyrightNews that Sky, Mediaworks, TVNZ and Spark are threatening legal action against Internet companies shows the importance of the pending Copyright Act review. It was announced today that those companes who provide services to access international geo-blocked TV and movie services now face a legal challenge.

InternetNZ Chief Executive Jordan Carter says that the open Internet challenges business models in many industries - including those of local broadcasters who choose to buy and onsell content available in other places.

"A fundamental feature of the open Internet is that it crosses borders. That's what consumers are now used to. That's how it should be.

"It is ironic that our twenty-one-year-old copyright law guarantees anyone can import content on DVDs. Yet now there is a threat of legal action against ISPs who provide digital means to access the same content.

"Moves like this won't decrease piracy. New Zealand Internet users are still paying for content accessed via these services, many of them go off-shore to get content that local poviders either don't have or don't provide on-demand. "Consumers still have the choice to go with Sky, Spark and others' online services. Efforts to undermine competition like this aren't innovation: they are just trying to reduce our choices," Jordan Carter says.