NZ debates on 'three strikes' copyright Bill

Summary:The New Zealand Commerce Select Committee has heard further evidence into its review of the Copyright Amendment Bill this week, with internet industry body InternetNZ and the New Zealand Labor Party voicing opposition to disconnecting users caught infringing copyright.

The New Zealand Commerce Select Committee has heard further evidence into its review of the Copyright Amendment Bill this week, with internet industry body InternetNZ and the New Zealand Labor Party voicing opposition to disconnecting users caught infringing copyright.

New Zealand

The NZ Commerce Select Committee has heard evidence suggesting that disconnecting internet users for infringing copyright is over the top. (New Zealand map image by Marcus Holland-Moritz, CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill appeared before New Zealand Parliament in February, with relevant submissions closing in June.

The Bill contains legislation that would make internet service providers (ISPs) ultimately responsible for their users' infringements, with a "three-strike" system to apply. Under the three-strike policy, a user caught infringing three times would face fines and a possible six-month disconnection from the ISP.

InternetNZ made its presentation to the Commerce Select Committee yesterday, with policy director Jordan Carter saying that disconnecting users as a punishment was out of line.

"People are using the internet for a huge range of important economic and social tasks. Cutting off their accounts is akin to banning someone from using the postal system because they were caught posting copied music CDs," Carter said.

New Zealand Labor MP Charles Chauvel echoed InternetNZ's position saying that while the three-strike policy made "a tiny iota of sense", the suspension was unworkable and unnecessary.

"It is also arguable that the suspension of internet access breaches important human rights, such as the freedoms of expression and assembly," Chauvel added.

However, the New Zealand Law Society has said that the proposed three-strike system was too lenient, instead calling for a permanent ban on copyright infringers, according to TechRadar.

The Bill has parallels with the ongoing copyright case between local ISP iiNet and the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft, or AFACT.

The Commerce Select Committee will continue to hear evidence, with a report to be released in mid-October.

Topics: Government, Government : AU, Legal, New Zealand, Telcos

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A fresh recruit onto the tech journalism battlefield, Luke Hopewell is eager to see some action. After a tour of duty in the belly of the Telstra beast, he is keen to report big stories on the enterprise beat. Drawing on past experience in radio, print and magazine, he plans to ask all the tough questions you want answered.

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