New Zealand passes 'three strikes' copyright law

New Zealand passes 'three strikes' copyright law

Summary: Internet protests have started in New Zealand after its government passed a controversial "three strikes" filesharing bill under urgency.


Internet protests have started in New Zealand after its government passed a controversial "three strikes" filesharing bill under urgency.

The Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Bill gives media companies the right to accuse people of infringing copyright, with offenders to be fined up to NZ$15,000 (US$11,904) by a new Copyright Tribunal.

The "three strikes" bill replaces the abandoned Section 92a of the Copyright Act, devised by the former Labour government.

Campaigns, including an Internet blackout protest from people angry that the early legislation would have allowed Internet users to be cut-off, led the current government to work out a compromise.

A new bill, which began its parliamentary process last February, allows copyright owners to send evidence of alleged infringements to Internet service providers (ISPs), who will then send up to three infringement notices to the account holder.

If the alleged offending continues, the copyright owner can take a claim to the Copyright Tribunal, which can fine the account holder up to NZ$15,000.

The bill includes a power for a district court to suspend an Internet account for up to six months, in appropriate circumstances. However, this is not intended to be used unless the notice process and the remedies by the Copyright Tribunal are ineffective.

The third reading of the bill was passed by backed by the main parties, excluding the Greens and two independent MPs. The bill is due to come into effect on Sep. 1.

"Online copyright infringement has been damaging for the creative industry, which has experienced significant declines in revenue as file sharing has become more prevalent. This legislation will discourage illegal file sharing and provide more effective measures to help our creative industries enforce their copyright," Commerce Minister Simon Power said today.

However, opponents say disconnections could still be made without sufficient proof of who was guilty.

A Facebook campaign opposing the bill has attracted more than 2,000 supporters.

Twitter and Facebook users are also protesting by "blacking out" their avatars by changing the images into black squares and tweeting using the hashtag #blackout.

This article was first published at ZDNet Australia.

Topics: IT Employment, Apps, Legal, Software

Darren Greenwood

About Darren Greenwood

Darren Greenwood has been in journalism, not all of it IT, since the days of typewriters and long before the web spun its way around the world.

Coming from Yorkshire, he can be blunt, and though having resided in New Zealand, as well as Australia, for quite some time, he insists he is not one of the 'sheeple!'

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  • The problem is that the individual artist themselves were being hurt by the record industry long before file sharing. The other interesting thing is that there is an assumption that the files shared would have been purchase had they not been available to be shared. Which is a very wrong and shows a very poor understanding of economics and commerce. In fact, it can be easily argued that file-sharing promotes sales. However, that would defeat the purpose of going after individuals as a corporation. The real problem is greed. Blind greed to be more specific without focus and/or direction. Not the artist, the record labels. A good place to start is when record labels forced you to buy the whole album when you only like say one song. The consumer was more than willing to pay for the song they liked. Might have even paid a premium. (Often did with singles if they liked them.) However, the record companies (not the artist) said, "No, you will pay for songs you don't like to get the songs you do like and if you don't like it too bad--so sad." ...and for a long time this was true and the record labels held consumers tightly by the neck. Then music started to become digital and yet record companies still continued to try to force this model. If they had just stopped strangling consumers and let them buy what they wanted for a fair price, we would not be where we are now. Apple had to show them how it could be done--better late than never. Profits began to return and consumers were more than happy to pay .99 cent for the songs they wanted because they were willing to pay all along. However, blind greed could not be suppressed. The record labels wanted back all of they power they once had. It was not enough to just short change the artist and enslave them with contracts. They wanted the profits they once had. They wanted it all. Consumers do not take kindly to dictators or monopolist. You can not punish the people who pay because of the people who can't or wont pay--even if so, only to a point. The bottom line is that the majority of people are more than willing to pay a fair price for what they want. However, absolutely will not pay an unfair price for something they don't want under conditions that are unreasonable in which the artist who actually created the material does not get their fair share. It is that simple. The people who are not willing to pay for the material will not pay for the material no matter how much you inconvenience the people who pay for it. They more the record labels inconvenience the paying customers the more the people not willing to pay will find new and improved ways of getting the material without paying for it. In the end, if the people who are not willing to pay for the material are 100% prevented from getting it without paying for it, will simply not get it--regardless. They have no intentions of every paying for it. That is the reality. Revenue will either stay the same or drop as the material fails to get to the very people who pay for it. If the record labels had done right by the consumer from the beginning, or at least when Apple gave them an opportunity to do so, we would not be where we are now. One day, all music will be open source, the artist will get their fair share, individuals will not be sued like corporations and all this will be just a ugly time in humanity we will try to forget.
  • WOW! It's incredible that they can be facing fine from just an accusation vs being found guilty. I guess this is why VPNs are becoming so popular these days, thank god I'm using because you should be innocent unless found guilty in a court of law world wide. Imagine all the poor bed and breakfast owners taking in foreigners who may do something like this and the B&B owner getting pinched for their wrong doings. It kind of discourages B&B/Hotel/Cafe owners to allow free wifi.