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News January 22, 2016

NZ anti-piracy scheme a costly pursuit

NZ anti-piracy scheme a costly pursuit

Four years on, and New Zealand’s ‘three strikes’ law is proving to be somewhat obsolete and ineffective in offering copyright holders any real effect in preventing piracy against their works.

The enacted Legislation, also known as the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act 2011, came into force in September 2011. The new laws were poised to provide a system where internet account holders can be sent warning notices for illegal downloading and uploading of copyright material on their account. After three notices, the copyright owner can then apply to the Copyright Tribunal for an order against the account holder, hence the name ‘three strikes’.

The policy is proving to be not only ineffective but costly for copyright holders wishing to enforce a takedown infringement order against infringing users. The costs involved for a copyright holder to enforce a take down notice are outweighing the end result in many cases. This year, there was just one recorded action against an infringing user of copyrighted material following last year’s four cases.

Costing an applicant $25 per warning, and $200 if they decide to lodge an official complaint, copyright holders are looking at in excess of $300 per complaint without the guarantee that the works or material will cease to be used by the infringer.

General Council and Government Affairs Representative Kirsten Bowmen of Recorded Music NZ told TMNalternatives to the scheme may lie in better education and services on the consumers end.

“What works best is great legal advice, however, we still have many New Zealanders, continuing to use websites that do not have licenses from artist to use their stuff”. Bowman went on to ask the public to “Please use legal music services so that artist- and the labels that invest in artists –are not left competing with zero/$0 market”.

The country was one of the first to have a Government mandated “strikes” policy, but of the initial enthusiasm among copyright holders, very little is left.

General counsel Kristin Bowman told Stuff: “We haven’t got rid of it as the regime, unfortunately, it is too costly. It’s really disappointing.”

With the thousands of people in New Zealand illegally downloading material every week, the potential to resource such a scheme seems to be at the core of the logistics when approaching copyright infringement. Bowman went on to state: “Every time we send a notice it costs us $25. We would love to do 1000 of those a week, but we just can’t afford it”.


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