New Zealand Outlaws File Sharing, Full Stop

By Tracey E. Schelmetic April 14, 2011

In a rather curious move that seems, in part, to reflect lawmakers' ignorance of Internet technology, New Zealand legislators have passed a law designed to curb online piracy on Thursday. How? It outlaws file-sharing and threatens repeat offenders with having their Internet access cut off, according to AFP news.

The new law allows for penalties of up to NZ$15,000 (US$12,000) to be paid to the copyright owner and if this is ineffective offenders can have their Internet account suspended for up to six months.

“Online copyright infringement has been damaging for the creative industry, which has experienced significant declines in revenue as file sharing has become more prevalent,” said Commerce Minister Simon Power.

“The legislation will discourage illegal file sharing and provide more effective measures to help our creative industries enforce their copyright.”

The new law gives copyright owners the power to send evidence of alleged infringements to Internet service providers, who will then send up to three infringement notices to the account holder.

If the warnings are ignored then a claim can be made to the Copyright Tribunal which can make awards of up to NZ$15,000 against the account holder.

The new law will take effect on September 1 but will not apply to mobile networks until October 2013.

Only the Green Party and two independent MPs voted against the bill although there were strong objections by user groups over the past year as it went through the select committee process.

MPs were accused of not understanding file sharing and Internet basics. Legitimate, legal sites such as Grooveshark use peer-to-peer file sharing and will apparently become illegal in New Zealand now.

Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TechZone360. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves

TechZone360 Contributor

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