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March 2, 2009 | by  | in News | [ssba]

No Backing Out of Blackout Protest

What effect can blacking out your Facebook avatar really have on legislation? I joined in; blacked out my Facebook and Twitter, and signed the petition, but wasn’t really sure if it was going to have the desired effect —the repeal of Section 92A of the Copyright Act.

When I showed up to the protest at 12pm on Thursday 19 February, I was surprised. There was a large group of people of all kinds; guys that looked like it was the first time they’d stepped away from their computers in years, random hippies and even corporate, suit-wearing types. People were decked out in bright colours, because it was a “positive protest” according to the Creative Freedom Foundation’s memo. A fair few people carried black placards and some had their mouths taped shut.

It wasn’t a slogan-shouting protest, it wasn’t rowdy. It was a bunch of people quietly talking among themselves. We listened to Bronwyn Holloway-Smith present a petition signed by 148 people and with over 10,000 internet signatures to Peter Dunne. After a quick conference with the security regarding the other protest – Sri Lankans wishing to encourage the government to stop the persecution of the Tamil Tigers – our protest moved hurriedly through its agenda.

Clare Curran, Labour MP and ICT spokesperson announced that she would be tabling an amendment at that afternoon’s House session that would delay Section 92A from coming into law until all parties had come to a consensus on what the actual ramifications of the law would be. This was met with a chorus of support and thanks.

After that, we had to dissipate as it appeared the other group had ‘reserved’ the steps for their protest. We hurried, satisfied we’d been heard and taken seriously, back to our computers. They looked like they could take us.


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