Anti-piracy bill moves closer to reality
Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill introduced into parliament, repealing Section 92A of the Copyright Act 1994.James Heffield | Wednesday, February 24 2010
The government’s proposed changes to New Zealand’s copyright legislation moved a step closer to reality yesterday when the Section 92A amendment bill was introduced into parliament.
The bill proposes changes to the Copyright Act 1994, including a three strikes process for dealing with illegal copying of material over computer networks and facility for copyright holders to seek suspension of infringers’ internet accounts through the courts.
The three strikes process would require ISPs to give infringers three warning notices, at the request of copyright holders, before rights holders could take legal action through the Copyright Tribunal. If found guilty, an infringer could face a maximum penalty of $15,000.
In a statement released yesterday, commerce minister Simon Power said the bill the three notice process was “fair and balanced” and provided members of the public with “adequate warnings that unauthorised sharing of copyright works is illegal”.
The existing enforcement measures allowable under the act were ineffective, and the proposed changes would remedy that, Power said. The bill would go to select committee after its first reading, before it was opened for another round of public submissions in the next couple of months. It was hoped that a final version of the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill could be passed into law this year, he said.
“Online copyright infringement is a problem for everyone, but especially for the creative industry, which has experienced significant declines in revenue as file sharing had become more prevalent.”
InternetNZ policy director Jordan Carter said he welcomed the introduction of the bill into parliament but had some concerns about its wording, particularly in regards to suspension of alleged infringer’s internet accounts.
“The only major flaw remaining in the legislation is its provision for the suspension of people’s internet accounts. Internet users would simply start a new account at another ISP. While suspension would require an order of the District Court, it is still unworkable and unnecessary. InternetNZ will argue strongly that suspension be deleted by the Select Committee.”
InternetNZ would convene public forums in Auckland and Wellington next month to educate the public about the draft bill and how to make submissions on it, Carter said.
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