Illegal File Sharing Bill Shows All That is Bad with Politics

There are plenty of people who are a bit angry today.

Make that really angry.

The Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill is a contentious bill with history of internet protest. Maybe the knowledge that more highly visible protest would precede any passing of this bill caused the government to rush the Bill through parliament under urgency.

While the Bill has been changed to be more balanced than in it’s early incarnations, it’s termination clause was still a reason to protest.

But what this really highlighted, was not so much the content of the Bill itself, but the politics surrounding it.

Admissions from National politicians, that discussions with other countries over free trade talks were a consideration, gave a feeling that there were underhanded reasons for what was happening last night.

So what is urgency? Here is a link to the NZ Parliament site that explains:

The House of Representatives sometimes goes into “urgency” to make progress on business additional to what would be possible under the normal rules for sitting hours and progress of business.

Now this session of Urgency was called to deal with legislation related to the Christchurch Earthquake. However, completely unrelated business can be added.

Given that Copyright issues have absolutely nothing to do with the earthquake, one can make the following assumptions:

  • The Government had some other agenda (Maybe this was part of the free trade negotiations)
  • Pressure was being applied by supporters of the Bill (In this case the likely supporters are Record and Movie companies)
  • By passing under urgency, with no notice, anticipated protest could be held to a minimum

Regardless of your opinions on the pros and cons of the “Three Strikes” and final sanction of internet account holder suspension, the conduct of the MP’s who were in the debating chamber last night made for some interesting insights.

I was up watching Parliament TV streaming online here, so were many others, possibly giving Parliament TV it’s best ratings ever. Alongside my stream was my Twitter feed and especially the comments tagged with #blackout.

It was an amazing and compelling evening of watching most MP’s wallow in their abject understanding of the topic they were debating, while those interested spectators spouted vitriol towards them via Social Media.

Special mention must go to Gareth Hughes (@GarethMP), Jacinda Adren (@jacindaardern) and Clare Curran (@clarecurranmp) who seemed to at least have a working understanding of what was being discussed.

Brickbats go to Melissa Lee and Jonathan Young who seemed so unsure of the terminology and the concepts being discussed that they are now stars in their own parodies of themselves.

Quite how a piece of legislation can be debated by those who are completely unqualified and also when key players are away (The Minister of Commerce, Simon Power) is amazing, maybe there should be a quiz before entering the chamber to test the knowledge of those wanting to participate in the debate.

As of this morning, the Bill was passed, with both Labour and National voting for, with the Greens the majority of those opposed.

It won’t spell the end of the internet, but the political process has exposed to many as a farce.

It seems the Greens got a few more supporters last night. Will it make a difference come election day?

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