Friday, October 9, 2009

How to Remember CSS Shorcut Order

I have always had trouble remembering the correct order for CSS shortcuts like this:

margin: 3px 4px 2px 3px;

The order is Top, Right, Bottom, Left.

I have just found two ways to remember this.

The first is using the word trouble:

T R o u B L e

The consonants give the order.

The second (pointed out by a colleague this morning) is using a clockface starting at the top and going clockwise.

12 is at the Top
3 is on the Right side
6 is at the Bottom
9 is on the Left.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Speeding up content delivery on the Radio NZ website

We've made a few changes to the way content is served on

1. The first is that all static content is now served from a separate domain ( We are using Nginx for this task because it is faster and more light-weight than Apache.

One benefit is that the browser can make more connections to the site for downloading page elements in parallel.

The second reason we used a completely different domain (instead of a sub-domain such as is that it is cookie-less.

The browser does not send any cookies with requests for this static content. If it was on a sub-domain, then any cookies for the domain would be sent with each request. In the case of our home page, this added about 6k to every page request.

One of the NZ sites I tested while working on this has 65K of cookies sent for static assets on the home page. Someone has to pay for that wasted bandwidth.

2. The expiry date of static content is set one year in the future, and assets are marked as Cache-Control: Public.

This tells any application that the content passes through (including the end-user's browser) that the content can be cached, and that it won't expire for a year.

Intermediate caches (like the ones most ISPs have) are more likely to keep a copy of the assets and pass them on instead coming back to our servers. The browser will also check the content in its local cache and only fetch items that have expired.

The net effect is fewer requests for static assets. The makes for less bandwidth used by the client, and less bandwidth paid for by us.

Initial tests show that browsing between two recently visited pages (or pages that are cached locally) is about 100% faster than before the changes. Pages that are not already cached are about 15% faster due to nginx serving files more efficiently and the gzipping of our HTML content. Previously we did not gzip html content because of the relatively high server load, but nginx seems to be able to do this without any impact.

In fact, the overall server load has been reduced by about 10%.

For those who are interested, browse around the site with the Firebug Net tab open and watch how the content loads. You'll notice two things. The first is that subsequent visits to the page only get the main page and the two analytic scripts. The second is that the page fully renders quickly, even though the browser is still getting content. This was achieved by careful placement of the CSS and JS files in the HTML markup.

The site now gets a YSlow 'A' rating (excluding the CDN test, which is not relevant to us).

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Browser and OS trends visitor trends at Radio NZ

Yesterday I took a look back at browser and OS usage changes over the last couple of years to evaluate any useful trends.

Here are the browser stats from the last month, and the same period 1 & 2 year's ago:

IE version 5.x is virtually extinct.

Looking at the underlying data I'd draw the following conclusions:
  • IE use is on the decline generally, and IE users are the slowest at upgrading
  • Firefox usage appears to have plateaued (and they are the fastest to upgrade)
  • Most growth is in new browser entrants.
  • There is greater market fragmentation (more choice for consumers)
There are also changes in Operating Systems (using the same periods):


Around 73% of Windows users still use XP, and only 56% of Mac users are on OSX 10.5. The lower rate of Mac upgrades could limited by hardware restrictions.

For many website developers these figures will represent a significant challenge - you can no longer design your website for any one browser or OS. The days of 'best viewed in browser X' are gone.

And yes, I still see sites that only work in IE. I went to get an on-line quote for something last week, and the site simply would not work in Firefox or Safari. I took my business elsewhere. The average punter isn't going to know why - they'll just think the site doesn't work. Is this the branding message you want to send to visitors?

Based on these stats, failing to design cross-platform websites will give at least 15% of your users an inferior experience. That is a lot of lost traffic (and business).

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Rails Active Directory Authentication

Radio New Zealand has released a rails plugin to allows user to authenticating to Active Directory from a Rails Application.

We use it with the restful authentication plugin to allow a single set of credentials to be used for each person, regardless of the application.

Michael Koziarski wrote the plugin, and we (RNZ) are releasing it under the MIT license.

The source is available on GitHub.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Deploying Acts as Solr on Tomcat with Rails

At Radio NZ we have a number of small Rails applications that need really good search. In several cases we want field-based searching.

e.g. title:"A Blog Post"

to look only in the field 'title' for "A Blog Post".

Apache Solr is:

"an open source enterprise search server based on the Lucene Java search library, with XML/HTTP and JSON APIs, hit highlighting, faceted search, caching, replication, a web administration interface and many more features."

Acts as Solr is plugin for Rails that provides a Rails interface to Solr. The plugin includes Solr, and provides rake tasks to start, stop and reindex the Solr index.

This works fine in development, but gets tricky in production. If you have several apps, it does not really make sense to have several instances of Solr running on the same server (and you have to change the port number for each so they don't clash). There is also the question of how to ensure Solr restarts if the server reboots.

Because of this I decided to run the production instance of Solr in a Tomcat container. Each app has there own index on the development machine, and when deployed the solr.yml file tells each app to use the single Slor/Tomcat instance instead.

We use Debian Lenny on our production server. You should read these instructions first. Twice. They work for Lenny, and only a few minor tweaks are required to adapt them for Acts as Solr.

The first thing is to use the version of Solr that comes with the plugin - it has changes in the config files that make it work correctly with the plugin. I found this out the hard way.

Deploy your Rails app first and install Tomcat as outlined above. Then do this:

sudo cp path/to/your/app/vendor/plugins/acts_as_solr/solr/webapps/solr.war /usr/local/tomcat6/webapps/solr.war

sudo cp -r path/to/your/app/vendor/plugins/acts_as_solr/solr/solr /usr/local/tomcat6/solr/

Then carry on with the rest of the recipe and you are done.

Parsing Word HTML with Ruby and Rails

I promised I would write about my first Rails project, so here goes.

Within Radio NZ we have a web application for parsing Microsoft Word documents and reformatting them for the web. Content from Word is pasted into a WYSIWYG cell, and submitted to the application. A preview of the parsed content is presented for review.

If this looks OK, then the page is submitted again and an XML document is generated from the content. This XML is sent to our Content Management System to be imported.

If the content is NOT to be imported, then it can be cut from the preview page, and pasted into the CMS WYSIWYG.

The parser ensures that the code is cleaned of extraneous markup, and validates. In the case of pre-formatted documents like our schedules, it can split a week's content into 7 day-parts, format subheadings, add emphasis to times, and add links to programme names. You can see the result here and here.

The old application was written in PHP and used a combination of regular expressions, HTML Tidy, and some stream-based parsing to work its magic.

The updated application is written in Ruby on Rails, uses the Sanitize and Hpricot Gems, and is much more modular. The reasons for the change was to make the app more maintainable - I wanted to add more parsing filters - and the PHP code was a bit of a mess.

I could have refactored the PHP version, but I needed a real project to help me learn Rails, and I suspected it would be less work anyway. Also, having testing built in has advantages when you are writing a parser.

The Rails version has the same basic workflow. Content from Word is pasted into a WYSIWYG (in this case the FCK Editor). The HTML is sent to this bit code which cleans most of the rubbish and does a few RNZ specific things like standardise time formatting.

The cleaner adds new lines after certain tags, and this is passed to a stream-based parser. That walks through the document and processes it based on the document type (set via a drop-down setting when the content was submitted).

The new version is in production now, and is more reliable than the old. This is partly because I cleaned up some of the underlying algorithms, fixed some logic bombs, and added a lot more error checking.

One important check added in this version was for smartags. This is a feature of Word the tags certain Words to give them special attributes. The problem is that when pasted and parsed they do not appear in the final document. The new parser checks for these and reminds the user to remove them first.

I really liked the Rails framework. The two best parts were:
  1. Having sensible defaults and behaviours for things. I used to spend most of my time in PHP just configuring stuff and getting things flowing.
  2. The second was the Ruby language (and the Rails extension to it). Just brilliant. The language design is very good with consistent interfaces and predictable syntax. It certainly made a nice change from working which PHP function to use and what order the parameters should be in.
I have also coded in Perl and C (and Assembler), and I like some of the Perlish things that have made their way into Ruby. You can use =~ to compare a string with a /regex/. Cool. Being able to write

when /regex/

inside a

case string

block. Very cool

(I still use a lot of Perl - the Radio NZ audio and text publishing engines are built with Perl).

There are some other Rails projects in the works at Radio NZ - one of them is a search tool based on Solr (an update of the BRAD application that I am working on with Marcus from AbleTech) - so expect some more Ruby and Rails posts in the near future.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Installing Git from source on Debian Lenny

I tend to use the most current release of Git, and had to install it on a new Lenny server today.

These are the steps required to do so:
  1. wget
  2. tar -xzvf git-
  3. cd git-
  4. sudo apt-get install build-essential linux-headers-`uname -r` libssl-dev curl libcurl4-openssl-dev libexpat1-dev tcl
  5. make prefix=/usr/local/ all
  6. make prefix=/usr/local/ install

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Tracking forks on Github

I have been using github for a few of my projects, and occasionally have forked another project so I can add my own changes.

Today I forked a project and made some changes, and then found another fork with some code I wanted.

The project is simple-navigation - a Rails plugin to create and manage multi-layered navigation.

After creating a fork on github, I cloned my new fork locally:

$ git clone

I then added my own changes and committed them.

User edk has added some breadcrumb code that works in a similar way to some standalone code I use in my projects. I want to grab this code, have a look at the differences, and merge it in to my master branch.

The first step is adding edk's repository as a remote:

$ git remote add edk git://

Step two is fetching any objects in that repository that I don't have in mine:

$ git fetch edk

The output from that command looks like this:

remote: Counting objects: 25, done.
remote: Compressing objects: 100% (17/17), done.
remote: Total 17 (delta 12), reused 0 (delta 0)
Unpacking objects: 100% (17/17), done.
From git://
* [new branch] gh-pages -> edk/gh-pages
* [new branch] master -> edk/master

It is then a simple matter to create a branch and put edk's master branch in it:

$ git checkout -b edk edk/master

The last step is to compare the changes between my master and the edk branch. At this stage it might be tempting to just type this:

$ git diff master edk

The problem is that while you'll see all the additions made by edk, you will also see changes made on the master branch as removals.

To see just edk's changes I used this command:

$ git diff master...edk

This does a diff from the most recent common ancestor. The resultant output contains only code made since the point at which edk started adding changes. (Hat tip to Scott Chacon who mentioned this in his Scotland on Rails git talk)

If I wanted to change any of the new code I could do it in the new edk branch, or make a third branch.

The last step is to merge the new code into my master branch. While on master:

$ git merge edk

When these changes are pushed back to github, the network display page will show the new activity and merges.

And before you ask, you can track as many remotes as you want.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Installing a Rails plugin from GitHub through a firewall and proxy

I was working on a Ruby on Rails project today with Nigel from Able Technology, and we wanted to install a plugin from GitHub.

We had a few problems because of a corporate firewall and an http proxy server. Only port 80, http traffic was allowed.

To do this in OSX the following steps were necessary:

1. Set the htttp_proxy variable in the shell:

export http_proxy=http://our.proxy:our_port

if your proxy requires a username and password the command is:

export http_proxy=http://username:password@your.proxy:your_port

2. Run the import using http instead of the git protocol:

script/plugin install

Monday, April 20, 2009

Converting English dates to Maori with Ruby

In the project I am working on at the moment (my first Rails project) I needed a quick way to convert a date set in English (with the month and day of the week in full) to Māori.

This was a pretty simple function to write, so in plenty of time for Māori Language Week (27 July - 2 August 2009) here is the Ruby function.

It turns this:

Monday 20 April 2009

into this:

Rāhina 20 Paengawhā-whā 2009

Friday, April 17, 2009

Moving from PHP to Ruby (and Rails)

For the last year or so I have been porting a legacy PHP application to the Kohana framework. This is not really a legacy app that needs replacing - the system is still highly functional and meeting the needs of staff who use it.

The main problem has been maintaining the spaghetti code that is common in PHP apps written circa 2003. It's not really that bad, its just that things have moved on, and it would be a nightmare for anyone else to make changes to the system. Actually it is getting to be a nightmare for me, mostly because adding new features requires an increasing number of ugly hacks.

The port has been an on-again, off again. I began using the CodeIgniter framework, but changed to Kohana when they added support for PHP5 and started adding useful features not in the other framework.

One of the main issues though, has been the rate of change in both projects - CodeIgniter has been slow and steady, while there has (possibly) been more innovation in Kohana.

In the case of CodeIgniter, it did not always have what I needed (and they weren't taking patches), while Kohana was changing a lot with each major release.

I am definitely not saying that the approach taken by the writers of these frameworks is wrong. They are both good products. But for me I want to be writing business logic, not worrying about how to get a (not available) feature working, or having to rewrite code to account for internal framework changes. Life's too short...

My frustration with both frameworks has led me to look into Ruby on Rails. The byline on the website pretty much sums up what I wanted to experience in my daily work writing software - "Web development that doesn't hurt".

Alongside this we've also had the guys from AbleTech working here on a couple of projects, and I have been impressed with what they have been able to achieve with the Rails framework.

To get started I am porting another smaller web app to Rails. It is going well, and I'm getting to like the syntax very much.

True to the Rails methodology, I got the basic app running and deployed (via Capistrano) in about 20 minutes. From there it was straight into recoding the logic.

I'll be writing a follow-up post soon about the experience.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Copyright Act Time-line

For those readers not in New Zealand, there has been a lot in the media here lately about Section 92A of the amended Copyright Act. The debate centers around the impact 92A might have on ISPs, rights-holders and end-users of the internet.

The first paper on amending the Act was published in 2001 by the Ministry of Economic Development (MED). After a long process the amended Act came into force on 1 November 2008, although Section 92A was delayed until 28 February 2009.

On 23 February after an on-line and real-world protest, John Key announced that the implementation of Section 92A would be delayed for one month to allow the Telecommunication Carriers Forum Code of Practice to be completed.

And on 23 March 2009 Section 92A is to be redrafted.

All the links on this list were found through searching on-line and cover most angles of the story, but this is not intended as an exhaustive list. Where there was an exchange between parties via the media I have shown this in the time-line.

If you have links to contribute, gaps to fill or corrections please send them to me at rhulse at paradise dot net dot nz. That means that this post will be updated from time-to-time, so check back often for updates.

There are 4 main strands in the time-line:
  1. Key documents produced by the MED as part of the process
  2. Select Committee papers and transcripts of Parliament related to the Act.
  3. Press releases from rights-holders and industry bodies
  4. Media and blog coverage
On the time-line you'll be able to quickly see industry and media reaction at each step of the process.

And for the record, as a freelance writer I support the principle of copyright and the right of creators to profit from their work.


9 July 2001

  • Intellectual property reform enters touchy area - Two more bills are due over the next year to follow the Trademarks Bill introduced last week in the snail's-pace revision of intellectual property laws - but the legislative issues are complex and controversial. (NZ Herald)

10 July 2001

11 August 2001

23 October 2001

12 December 2001

  • Can The Recording Industry Spell 'Net'? - I spoke with Michael Glading, the managing director of Sony Music NZ who seems to be an amiable enough chap with a hell of a difficult job: convincing the huge number of local file-traders and music pirates to mend their wicked ways. (Aardvark)

18 December 2001

  • Copyright and wrong-headed law - Despite the best efforts of the copyright police - led by the bastion of democracy the United States - introducing ever more draconian laws designed to curtail individual freedom, copyright continues to be eroded before our eyes. (NZ Herald)


1 July 2002

1 December 2002

11 December 2002


4 April 2003

25 June 2003


  • RIANZ says it's okay to break copyright law - Regular readers will know that I have little time for Michael Gladding (he also has little time for me after this interview) and the attitudes of RIANZ when it comes to the "fair use" of music recordings that customers have paid good money for. (Aardvark)

3 March 2004

23 March 2004

30 March 2004

  • Cheap discs being imported - Hot on the heels of a big pirate CD bust in the eastern United States comes the news that probable counterfeit discs are still pouring into New Zealand (Scoop)

5 April 2004

20 May 2004

  • Microsoft, music industry sound off on copyright - More submissions on proposed changes to the country's copyright law have been made public, with Microsoft and the recording industry coming out strongly on the side of copyright holders. (Computer World)


22 March 2005

  • Clamping down on CD music piracy - An estimated 20 million blank CDs entered New Zealand last year and music industry pirate hunter Terence O’Neill-Joyce says up to half of them could have been used to "burn" illegal music copies. (NZ Herald)

24 March 2005

7 October 2005


24 April 2006

  • RIANZ and NZFA©T Sign Landmark Agreement - The Recording Industry Association of New Zealand has joined forces with the New Zealand Federation Against Copyright Theft (NZFA©T) to combat music and movie piracy. (Scoop).

26 April 2006

4 December 2006

Copyright (New Technologies) Amendment Bill introduced to house

6 December 2006

12 December 2006

First reading of Copyright (New Technologies) Amendment Bill
Referred to Commerce Committee with submissions due 9 March 2007


26 January 2007

  • Bar Breaks Copyright Law - A Palmerston North bar has been ordered to stop illegally playing music for which it does not have a Public Performance License. (Biggie)

15 February 2007

  • US to pressure NZ into copyright compliance? - New Zealand has earnt itself a "Special Mention" (link goes to an Adobe PDF document) in the International Intellectual Property Alliance's 2007 Special 301 Report it seems. (The Techsploder)


New Zealand Open Source Society presentation to Commerce Committee on the DRM provisions in the Copyright Amendment Bill.

30 March 2007

1 April 2007

  • Bic Runga posts on her blog about working two jobs. - Got home to some fuss in the media about how most New Zealand musicians have to have day jobs. Now that's never been news! But you know, I haven't flipped burgers since i was 15 (actually, I was very good at it, I once made up an order of 21 burgers in one go.) Thanks for your concern, but most musicians are just happy to be musicians.
Note: Campbell Smith was NOT the source of the 'flipping burgers' comment.

2 April 2007

  • The Public Good - Is the Campbell Smith who told a select committee last week that illicit downloading was killing his artists' careers and forcing them into day jobs the same Campbell Smith who told a room full of people several years ago that he didn't have much of a problem with file-sharing, which was "the only marketing we've got in most territories"? (Public Address)
  • Stop me if you've heard this one before... - The manager of top singer-songwriter Bic Runga says eight of his "high-profile" and "major" New Zealand artists have been forced to take second jobs as illegal digital downloads kill the music industry. (Daktari123)

3 April 2007

4 April 2007

  • RIANZ chief responds to music downloading debate - Last week music manager and RIANZ chief executive Campbell Smith told Parliament's commerce select committee that local record sales were suffering because of illegal music downloading. On Monday, media commentator Russell Brown entered the debate, challenging Smith's claims and critiquing the RIANZ select committee submission. (NZ Herald)

28 May 2007

  • Downloads to debut on NZ charts - Digital music sales will be included in the New Zealand music charts from Tuesday following the acceleration in legal downloads. (TVNZ)

26 April 2007

  • World IP Day 07: Respect Work of Creators - Creativity is encouraged when the ownership rights of those that create music, art, and other endeavours are respected, Associate Commerce Minister, Judith Tizard and creativity industry representatives said today. (Scoop)

27 July 2007

30 July 2007

  • Failure to right Copyright wrongs - Internet NZ (The Internet Society of New Zealand) notes that there are some small improvements but significant disappointments in the Commerce Committee's report back on the Copyright (New Technologies and Performers' Rights) Amendment Bill. (Scoop)

2 August 2007

  • Copyright Bill - Website Owners & ISPS Beware - The Commerce Committee has reviewed and recommended passing the Copyright (New Technologies and Performers’ Rights) Amendment Bill requiring, among other things, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) ‘to delete or prevent access to’ information on a website that is known to be a copyright infringement. (Scoop)

11 August 2007

  • iPod law eases for music, not films - Proposed law changes will make it legal to copy music for personal use, but anyone recording a favourite television programme will be able to keep it for only a few days. (NZ Herald)
  • RIANZ don't really want you to listen to music. - I'm sure plenty of people on here would have been following the saga of NZ's updated copyright laws that will probably be passed in the next few months. (Steve Biddle's Blog)

23 October 2007

  • US to drive global copyright enforcement - The Bush administration announced Tuesday that it plans to negotiate a trade agreement with other major countries to bolster the fight against counterfeit products. (NZ Herald)

25 October 2007

  • Question - CHRISTOPHER FINLAYSON (National) to the Associate Minister of Commerce: Does she stand by her statement regarding the Copyright (New Technologies and Performers’ Rights) Amendment Bill that “Under this Government there have been seven pieces of legislation concerning this matter, and indeed a number of new ones are coming through.”; if so, what are these new pieces of legislation and what intellectual property issues will they deal with? (Hansard)


27 January 2008

  • Top tips: Music and copyright - Greer Donovan, the licensing manager of the Australasian Performing Rights Association, answers your questions about music licensing and copyright. (NZ Herald)

19 March 2008

Second reading of Copyright (New Technologies) Amendment Bill

1 April 2008

8 April 2008

Third and final reading of Copyright (New Technologies) Amendment Bill
  • Internet NZ sees Copyright Amendment Act as a missed opportunity. - InternetNZ (The Internet Society of New Zealand Inc) says the changes passed today to the Copyright Act have both benefits and detriments for Internet users and providers, and is disappointed Parliament has missed an opportunity to bring its Copyright law fully into the modern age. (Internet NZ)

9 April 2008

10 April 2008

11 April 2008

Royal assent granted to Copyright (New Technologies) Amendment Bill
  • Copyright changes - Been meaning to blog on this since the changes to the Copyright Act were passed on Tuesday with all but the Greens and the Maori Party against. (KiwiBlog)

14 April 2008

  • NZ music labels unlikely to opt out of 'iPod' change - The Recording Industry Association says record companies are unlikely to try to use "opt out" provisions in the amended Copyright Act to prevent people from copying music from CDs to iPods, MP3 players, telephones and computers. (Stuff)
  • NZ copyright Act may drag ISPs into disputes - InternetNZ fears Internet service providers will be dragged into dozens of disputes every day over who owns copyright to material posted on homepages and websites they host. (Stuff)

15 April 2008

2 June 2008

  • Leaked US copyright proposal exposes ISP liability hole - A leaked report from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, which is part of the U.S. federal government, indicates the Office is considering imposing strict intellectual property protections as a condition of any free trade arrangement. (Info World)

26 July 2008

  • Fee plan to combat net piracy - Music industry heads say New Zealand should look into charging internet users a fee to download music which will help tackle illegal file-sharing. (NZ Herald)

19 September 2008

23 September 2008

25 September 2008

  • Government wavers on web cut-offs - The Government has issued mixed messages on whether it might freeze controversial new copyright law that could lead to customers being disconnected from the internet. (Stuff)

29 September 2008

  • Copyright Act change shifts software rights - A change in New Zealand's copyright law will see software developers owning their software by default, even when that software is commissioned, and that has led one industry leader to warn of potential abuse. (Info World)

6 October 2008

  • Colin Jackson's account of a meeting with David Cunliffe & Judith Tizard that delays s92a. - The meeting was arranged by David C after concerns were raised at the Open Source Awards. David C addressed the room from the podium and proposed the meeting.

6 October 2008

13 October 2008

  • Copyright section could be changed - A controversial clause in the Copyright Act due to come into force in February could be changed if ICT groups and copyright owners can reach a compromise. (Stuff)

14 October 2008

24 October 2008

  • Question - CHRISTOPHER FINLAYSON (National) to the Associate Minister of Commerce - Does she stand by her statement regarding the Copyright (New Technologies and Performers’ Rights) Amendment Bill that “Under this Government there have been seven pieces of legislation concerning this matter, and indeed a number of new ones are coming through.”; if so, what are these new pieces of legislation and what intellectual property issues will they deal with? (Hansard)

25 October 2008

1 November 2008

  • new tech amendment act (excepting 92a) in effect.
  • false copyright claim against BrokenSea Audio (press not until 4th march 2009)

8 November 2008

10 November 2008

12 November 2008

17 November 2008

  • Copyright change creates few ripples - Fears that new copyright legislation would result in a rash of demands for Internet service providers to take down websites appear to have so far proved unfounded. (Stuff)

21 December 2008

  • S92A: Interim Repeat Infringer Termination Policy - The Telecommunications Carriers Forum have released a note to ISPs saying that while they’re working on a policy that will comply with S92A of the Copyright Act, it’s not clear that the policy will be finished 28 days before the 28 Feb 2009 deadline when the law takes effect. (Torkington)


6 Jan 2009

  • Daft Kiwi copyright law could be adopted - New Zealand is set to adopt a daft, draconian copyright infringement law next month, which will see Internet users summarily disconnected merely upon accusation that they've unlawfully shared copyrighted files, with no proof, due process or right of appeal involved. (The Inquirer)

7 Jan 2009

9 January 2009

13 January 2009

  • Is the new copyright law a lose-lose proposition? - What do you get when you combine technology ignorant law makers, a twitchy movie and music industry plus the internet? If you live in New Zealand, you get an unworkable legislative mess that can only be described as a near total lose-lose situation for everyone. (NZ Herald)

14 January 2009

20 January 2009

21 January 2009

22 January 2009

  • Librarians join protest against implementation of new section of Copyright Act - LIANZA, the Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa, representing 460 public, educational, commercial, industrial, legal and government libraries in New Zealand, has joined the widespread protest against the implementation of new section 92A of the Copyright Act, which comes into force on 28 February 2009. (Info News)
  • Copyright law dust-up turns into a war of words - It's official, the recording industry has thrown its toys out of the cot after critics have roundly condemned the controversial Section 92A of the Copyright Amendment (New Technologies) Act. (NZ Herald)

29 January 2009

  • UK backs down on three strikes - will sanity prevail here? - As New Zealand edges closer to enforcing the controversial section 92 of the Copyright Amendment (New Technologies) act, the UK government has decided not to support a policy aimed at policing British digital copyright infringers. (NZ Herald)

31 January 2009

  • Govt rejects calls to alter internet law - The new "guilt by accusation" law would result in internet service providers (ISPs) being forced to take on the role of gatekeeper by blocking online access to anyone accused of flouting copyright laws and illegally downloading films and music. (Stuff)

3 February 2009

  • New copyright rules fair, says APRA - The Australasian Performing Rights Association has dismissed claims that the new Copyright Act will force people off the internet unfairly. (Radio NZ)

4 February 2009

5 February 2009

  • New copyright act to hit NZ ISPs - 2009 will force New Zealand's ISPs to come to grips with an amended Copyright Act, which includes a provision forcing them to disconnect customers who have allegedly infringed copyright. (Ziff Davis)
  • Copyright controversy - under the bonnet of the TCF code of conduct - Amidst much heated debate and controversy, Section 92A of the Copyright (New Technologies) Act finally comes into force at the end of the month. (HZ Herald)
  • Copyright group to challenge new code - A copyright lobby group led by the local arms of Hollywood entertainment companies is set to back a draft code of practice for phone companies obliged to regulate copyright theft of music and video from the internet. (NZ Herald)

7 February 2009

10 February 2009

13 February 2009

  • Govt should can copyright law, says Dunne - A new copyright law will leave internet users vulnerable to accusations of piracy and should be discarded, United Future leader Peter Dunne says. (NZ Herald)
  • Dunne Press release - The Government should repeal the Copyright Amendment Act’s ‘guilt by accusation’ clause that will see people’s internet connections cut on unproven accusations of piracy, UnitedFuture leader and Ohariu MP Peter Dunne said today. (Scoop)
  • Dunne increases pressure over unjust copyright law - In receiving a petition today for the repeal of Section 92A of the Copyright Amendment Act, UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne pledged to continue fighting to get rid of the clause that will see innocent New Zealanders having their internet disconnected. (United Future)

14 February 2009

  • David Farrar Guest Forum: New government fails to defend internet freedom - Most businesses in New Zealand will be unaware of this, but by the end of the month they will be at risk of having their Internet access terminated, if they are accused of repeat copyright infringement. They do not have to be found guilty. They do not need to have been infringing themselves. (NZCPR)

15 February 2009

The #blackout idea is dreamed up by attendees at this years Kiwifoo Baacamp, on the last unconference session on Saturday night. A plan is drawn up on the whiteboard and theCreative Freedom Foundation offers support.

16 February 2009

#blackout protest begins (avatars, stephen fry)
  • Join New Zealand Internet blackout protest against insane copyright law - Reason didn't work and the Parliamentary process failed, which is why we in New Zealand now have arguably the world's harshest copyright enforcement law. (Juha Saarinen)
  • Foes of copyright act call for photo black-out - A protest campaign against the Copyright Amendment (New Technologies) Act is catching on like wildfire as followers black-out their photos on Facebook and other social networking sites. (NBR)
  • Fans use Twitter, Facebook and MySpace to protest against copyright law - Music fans worldwide are using Twitter, Facebook and MySpace to protest against a new New Zealand law that could mean users who illegally download music internet see their connections severed. (NME)
  • A Black Day for New Zealand - New Zealand Twitterers are using the site to show resistance to the passage of ammendments to the copyright laws, in particular Section 92a which could see draconic responses to claims of copyright infringement, such as file sharing (especially music and film - the music industry, in particular, has been vocally lobbying the changes). (Idealog)
  • Black Out Your Twitter Photo: NZ Copyright Law Protest Goes Viral - Social networks are making it increasingly easy to organize and propagate protests. One that caught our eye today is the New Zealand Internet Blackout, which is using a variety of Internet services to protest against a new law in New Zealand - the Guilt Upon Accusation law 'Section 92A'. (ReadWriteWeb)
  • New Zealand Goes Black - The previous government in New Zealand enacted an amendment to the Copyright Act that required ISPs to have a policy to disconnect users after repeated accusations of infringement, over the objections of technologists. (O'Reilly)
  • MsBehaviour covers the #blackout (The g33k Show)
  • Fry backs campaign against 92A - British humourist, broadcaster, author and technofreak Stephen Fry has added his support to online campaigns against New Zealand’s new copyright legislation, which would require ISPs to disconnect customers accused of downloading copyright material. (Netguide)

17 February 2009

18 February 2009

#Blackout Special on the Radio Wammo Breakfast on Kiwi Fm featuring:

19 February 2009


20 February 2009

  • Media Release - Section 92a Copyright Right Act - RIANZ and APRA are confident the discussions with the TCF will lead to a Code of Conduct which will satisfy copyright holders and ISPs, which will satisfy the requirements of Section 92A and which, if adopted by ISPs, will provide certainty for all parties moving forward. (RIANZ Blog)
  • Section 92A: the business opportunity - Natcom has launched a $59.95/month service that lets a company block staff from accessing specific websites. The company says relying on inhouse IT staff to track users, to comply with S92, would be like "letting the rabbits guard the lettuce”. (NBR)
  • Cartoon: Pirating the justice system (NZ Herald)
  • Stephen Fry rails against NZ internet law - Heavyweight Twitter fan Stephen Fry has joined the New Zealand campaign against 'guilt upon accusation' internet copyright laws. (Stuff)
  • Leo Laporte on the #blackout - Tech broadcaster Leo Laporte weighs into the Section 92a Copyright debate with some of the reasons why he is so concerned for New Zealand and other jurisdictions who may introduce overly onerous Copyright laws. (KiwiFM)
  • Media: Mediator may help sort out pirates - Movie and music industry bosses have pulled back from a hardline approach and are belatedly considering a plan for an independent mediator to oversee protracted complaints between them and telcos. (NZ Herald)

21 February 2009

22 February 2009

  • What is it with Chris Hocquard? - You may remember I posted last year on an interview Oliver Driver did with Chris Hocquard. He still doesn’t get it, in my opinion, despite the fact that he’s the director and sole shareholder in and is well regarded in the industry. (Mark Harris)

23 February 2009

  • TCF Welcomes Progress On Copyright - The Telecommunications Carriers’ Forum (TCF) welcomes the government’s decision to postpone the introduction of s92A of the Copyright Act until the end of March. (TCF)
  • The top five myths about S92 - Section 92A of the Copyright Amendment (New Technologies) Act, due to come into force Saturday, is a piece of badly-written legislation that seeks to mollify both sides of the piracy debate, only to enrage all-comers. (NBR)
Websites blackout

John Key announces s92a delay until 27th March:

24 February 2009

More coverage:

26 February 2009

27 February 2009

28 February 2009

Section 92 was to come into effect on this date

2 March 2009

5 March 2009

7 March 2009

TCF submissions close

9 March 2009

11 March 2009

  • TelstraClear bails from copyright code talks - TelstraClear has pulled the rug from under efforts to implement New Zealand's controversial new copyright law. (Computer World)
  • TelstraClear pullout derails section 92 talks - The government's request for ISPs and rights holders to reach a voluntary agreement on delayed copyright legislation has been thrown into chaos by the withdrawal of TelstraClear from key talks, which needed unanimous, UN Security Council-style consensus. (NBR)
  • TelstraClear rejects copyright code - TelstraClear has dealt a death blow to section 92a of the Copyright Act, saying it would not support a code being drafted by the Telecommunications Carriers Forum that sets out how telcos would interpret the controversial law change. (Stuff)
  • TelstraClear decision must mean end of 92A - InternetNZ says TelstraClear’s decision not to support the Telecommunications Carriers’ Forum Copyright Code of Practice means the Government should promptly repeal Section 92A of the Copyright Act. (Internet NZ)

12 March 2009

13 March 2009

  • Artists want 'reasonable solution to bad copyright law' - Matthew Holloway from the Creative Freedom Foundation responds to RIANZ' Campbell Smith's column about copyright law in NZ. (NZ Herald Opinion)
  • Brief review of TCF submissions - Submissions on the TCF's draft code for implementing S92A closed on Friday 6th March. The 47 received submissions are now available to read on the TCF website and overall, they paint an interesting picture. (CFF)
  • David Farrar: TelstraClear kill off s92A Code - TelstraClear have killed off the TCF Code of Practice designed to try and get workable process around the deeply flawed s92A. (Scoop guest comment)
  • Video stores caught claiming controversial law will "stop child porn." - Supporters of the controversial "guilt upon association" copyright law have been asking people to sign a petition in favour of the law, claiming it is about controlling child pornography. (Nexus)
  • Media: ISPs throwing pirates overboard - Big telcos such as Telecom, Vodafone - and especially TelstraClear - are shuddering at new rules forcing them to clamp down on illegal downloads of movies, TV shows and music from their networks. (NZ Herald)
  • Power plays it cool over TelstraClear S92 boycott - In which justice minister Simon Power responds to parliamentary questions about our third largest ISP’s withdrawal from talks on the stalled Copyright Amendment (New Technologies) Act, and has a dig at InternetNZ's deputy executive director, Jordan Carter. (NBR)

14 March 2009

15 March 2009

  • ACT's Rodney Hide to seek internet copyright repeal - The ACT Party leader is to take a proposal to ministers seeking the repeal of a law change that enforces copyright on the Internet. (RNZ)
  • Section 92A - A Code for Educational Institutions? - Section 92A of the New Zealand Copyright Act has been in the media quite a lot recently, the work of the Creative Freedom Foundation has been excellent in promoting the concerns of a wide range of New Zealanders over the serious risks to personal freedoms and citizenship reflected in this badly written and sycophantic legislation. (Stephen's Blog)

16 March 2009

  • Google opposes new copyright law - Google has voiced its opposition to a controversial law change that would force internet service providers to cut off "repeat copyright infringers, in appropriate circumstances". (Stuff)
  • Law Society voices its criticisms of S92A - If you think the debate over section 92A of New Zealand’s new copyright law is getting a bit emotional, you are probably right. Now a more sober group, the Auckland District Law Society, has pointed to issues in the legislation that it says could undermine “fundamental precepts of our common law system”. (Computer World)
  • Opinion: ISPs agree on a code? Some chance - There's slim chance of ISPs widely adopting a cumbersome scheme being hammered out by the Telecommunications Carriers Forum to give teeth to section 92a of the Copyright Act. (Opinion, Stuff)
  • Child porn threat used to push S92A Student newspaper busts video chain petition - Waikato University's weekly Student Union magazine Nexus reports that United Video and other video rental stores in Hamilton are using the threat of child pornography to get customers to sign a petition in favour of Section 92A of New Zealand's new copyright law. (Computer World)
  • S92A: Opportunists jumping on bandwagons - It is always interesting watching people and organizations jumping on bandwagons of popular movements. In the case of the section 92A of the new Copyright Act, there was a genuine movement by the denizens of the local net and artist communities that we participated in. (The Standard)

17 March 2009

  • CFF launch the 'What About Us' video series against S92A - The series will feature YouTube video statements by New Zealand artists and others who are not represented in the private sector decision-making process that will determine whether the controversial 'Guilt Upon Accusation' law Section 92A comes into effect. (CFF)
  • What About Us Video Page - We succeeded in getting a delay in implementation of the Guilt Upon Accusation law Section 92A but now we're in the situation where most artists, businesses, schools, libraries, and many homes are now deemed Internet Providers and may be affected by a law without being represented in the decision-making process. (CFF)
  • Morning Report coverage of What About Us (MP3 - Radio NZ Morning Report)
  • Q&A: RIANZ chief backs 'robust' detection methods - Anti-piracy investigators from the New Zealand recording industry will use only the same methods to access file-swapping networks used by anyone downloading music, so there are no privacy issues involved, says Campbell Smith, CEO of the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. (Computer World)
  • New copyright law compared to Electoral Finance Act - Calls to scrap the controversial new internet copyright law are increasing ahead of the Government's March 27 deadline for a decision on its future. (NZ Herald)
  • Campaign against copyright legislation intensifies - Further pressure is being put on the Government to dump a controversial law change that enforces copyright on the internet. (RNZ)
  • Google: Internet disconnection a "disproportionate" penalty - Google has waded into the worldwide debate over disconnecting file-sharers after repeated copyright infringement. (Ars Technica)
  • A response to the latest newsletter from APRA. - Today APRA sent out a newsletter to their members with a number of misrepresentations about the Creative Freedom Foundation, about UK artists, and about Copyright law in New Zealand. We clear these up, inside. (CFF)
  • Lies? At the least, misinformation - calling out APRA's letter to members (Mark Harris)
  • ISPs want regular audit of S92A detection methods - ISP Association chief Jamie Baddeley has accused Campbell Smith, CEO of the Recording Industry Association of NZ (RIANZ) of being “economical with the truth” in his statement to Computerworld that ISPs registered no objections to the copyright-breach detection procedures planned by RIANZ in pursuit of the Copyright Act’s controversial Section 92A (Computer World)

18 March 2009

  • Anatomy of a smear - I’ve been involved in the campaign against Section 92A of the Copyright Act since before the election. On at least two occasions I’ve heard from journalists that someone they wouldn’t name was trying to plant stories linking anti-S92A activists with, of all things, child pornography. We gritted our teeth and ignored it. (Colin Jackson)

23 March 2009

  • Government to amend S92A - Cabinet today decided that section 92A of the Copyright Act 1994 will not come into force on 27 March as scheduled, but will be amended to address areas of concern, Commerce Minister Simon Power said today. (Minster's press release)(Scoop)
  • Section 92A to be Scrapped - Prime Minister John Key has announced the government will throw out the controversial Section 92A of the Copyright Amendment (New Technologies) Act and start again. (NBR)
  • S92A has been scrapped - Chris Keall at the NBR reports that "Prime Minister John Key has announced that the government will throw out the controversial Section 92A of the Copyright Amendment Act and start again. (CFF)
  • InternetNZ welcomes Government decision to abandon Copyright Act clause - InternetNZ welcomes the decision by Government today to amend Section 92A of the Copyright Act through starting a process to create a more workable law. (Internet NZ)
  • Matthew Holloway interviewed by Mary Wilson (MP3 - Radio NZ Checkpoint)
  • Copyright clause to curb internet piracy scrapped - The Government is to scrap a controversial new copyright provision aimed at curbing internet piracy after industry representatives failed to agree on a code of practice. (RNZ)
  • Shift, alt, delete for internet copyright law - A controversial internet copyright law will not be going ahead and will be replaced following a review by the Government, Prime Minister John Key confirmed today. (Stuff)
  • Where did Section9A come from? - In New Zealand we like to think we live in a democracy, with elected members of parliament who do the will of the people, and listen to experts in their subject matter before passing laws. (Brenda Wallace)
  • Government dumps stupid law - The Government has scuttled what has been described as a stupid law introduced by Labour. (Newstalk ZB)
  • Finally, some leadership on Copyright issue - Labour’s spokesperson on Communications and IT, Clare Curran, today welcomed the Government’s decision to intervene on section 92A of the Copyright Act, after weeks of calling for leadership on the issue. (Scoop)
  • Pat Pilcher: Sanity prevails - RIP Section 92A - Like a Mainland cheese advert, good things can take time, and in the case of Section 92A of the Copyright Amendment (New Technologies) Act this was definitely the case. (NZ Herald)
  • Government throws out section 92A - Cabinet today announced that section 92A of the Copyright Act will not come into force on 27 March as scheduled, but will be amended to address "areas of concern", says commerce minister Simon Power. (Computer World)
  • New Zealand ditches controversial copyright law - New Zealand Prime Minister John Key announced today that he was scrapping an amendment to the nation's copyright law that had enraged free-culture advocates around the Web. (LA Times)

24 March 2009

  • More Education, less Legislation - Repeal of Section 92A - The New Zealand Open Source Society (NZOSS) is pleased to see the abandonment of the unfair Section 92A of the Copyright Amendment (New Technologies) Act, a move supported by the vast majority of NZOSS members and the ICT community in New Zealand. (NZOSS)
  • Govt Commitment To Tackling Online Piracy Welcome - The Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ) backs the government’s firm commitment to improve new legislation requiring action by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to help protect creators’ rights. (Scoop)
  • "3 strikes" strikes out in NZ as government yanks law - The New Zealand government has withdrawn support for a tough new "graduated response" law that was to go into effect this week. The provision will now be rewritten from scratch to take vocal criticism into account. (Ars Technica)

26 March 2009

  • Labour and copyright - Labour MPs hosted a roundtable on Tuesday evening to discus copyright issues - not just S92A, but longer term issues over how copyright law intersects with modern technology. (KiwiBlog)
  • New Zealand Reconsiders Three-Strikes Rule on Internet Use - New Zealand agreed this week to reconsider a controversial law that cut off Internet access to people accused of copyright violations. (Wall Street Journal)

27 March 2009

  • The awful truth of commerce - Back in 1981 when Roger Shepherd founded NZ record label Flying Nun, computing technology for the general populace was just starting to come out of the science fiction closet. (Stuff, Opinion)

3 April 2009

1 May 2009

  • Entire Copyright Act to be scrapped - The National government will freeze any further changes to the Copyright Act with an eye to throwing the whole thing out and rewriting it from scratch. (NBR) (NB: The accuracy of this story has been questioned.)

11 May 2009

  • Asserting ancient rights - The news that section 92A is likely gone, or neutered, is great – although I'm not convinced that it is as bad as was being made out. (Public Address - Legal Beagle)

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