Copyright law: Net parodists target Nat MPs
From political grandstanding to internet laughing stock. It was a short step as MPs who lined up to praise the new bill fell prey to online gags.
Internet users unleashed their frustration across the web in the form of parodies and satirical posts overnight, as Parliament moved to pass a controversial anti file-sharing law.
The Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill, which aims to stamp out internet piracy, passed by 111 votes to 11 this morning.
Opponents have taken to social media sites such as Twitter in protest, reviving the 2009 "blackout" protest by changing their avatars and spreading scathing links about the MPs who supported the bill.
Parodies include this video comparing MP Katrina Shanks' speech to the bumbling teen Miss USA speech of 2007, and this poster featuring Jonathan Young by @bobsyauncle.
There was also widespread criticism of list MP Melissa Lee, who gave this flailing speech about the perils of filesharing only a day after tweeting to thank a friend for making a music compilation of Korean pop music for her listening pleasure.
"I see Melissa Lee's not strong on the concept of irony," Rory: Guerrilla Geek (@Nightwyrm) tweeted in response.
The only MP who didn't get a serve of cyber sarcasm was Green MP Gareth Hughes, who was widely proclaimed as the internet champion for opposing the bill in this speech.
Hughes said there were some classic quotes coming out on the internet and many politicians were not aware of the internet.
"They need to get up with the play to engage with the constituents.
"Last night's speech shows the power of the internet - within hours parodies, videos were pasted online, people were literally uploading the debate to peer to peer copyright software - it was amazing to see.
"There was hundreds maybe thousands of people actually watching Parliament, engaging via twitter and via websites. There needs to be more of that."
He said he had lost his voice during last night's debate. "I can still tweet."
The online community will continue its online Blackout protest today.
WHAT THE NEW LAW MEANS
* Establishes a 'three strikes' regime to stamp out illegal file-sharing.
* Copyright owners notify Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that someone is downloading material, such as films or video, without paying for it, through file-sharing.
* ISPs send warning notices to those customers telling them they may have infringed copyright.
* After three warnings, if the user does not stop, the copyright owner can take a claim to the Copyright Tribunal.
* The tribunal now has the power in impose a maximum $15,000 penalty on the internet account holder.
* However, after two years, if the new regime is not working - and a large number of people are still illegally downloading, then the Commerce Minister can introduce a tougher regime which could lead to the suspension of accounts.
* This would see the tribunal refer serious cases to the district court, who would have the power to order a six month suspension.
* The regime comes into force on September 1. The law does not apply to cellphone networks until 2013.