WikiLeaks: US offered to bankroll New Zealand piracy crackdown

In Americas, World News on May 4, 2011 at 1:04 pm

By Matthew Lasar

Making your country’s views known is a principal function of foreign embassies, but the US goes much further. According to cables released by WikiLeaks, the US embassy in New Zealand urged Uncle Sam to fork overabout half a million New Zealand dollars back in 2005 to bankroll a private intellectual property enforcement unit run by major rightsholders in the region.

Operated on an informal basis by the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ) and the Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (AMCOS), the US identified the “unit” as the only potential bulwark against music piracy in the region.

“It is developing an intelligence framework to identify local producers of pirated works, distributors, criminal networks and recipients and to work with relevant government, law enforcement, customs and other authorities and stakeholders,” the embassy’s cable noted. “The unit aims to prevent piracy by sharing intelligence with other organizations and agencies, lobbying political parties and the judiciary on the harm to industry and supporting public awareness campaigns.”

The outfit would also launch “enforcement operations” targeting makers and distributors of illegal material, and it would “train law enforcement and other agencies in the implementation…”

Full article…

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