Kiwi Three-Strikes Bill Introduced

A New Zealand anti-piracy measure that includes a “three-strikes” plan of attack against copyright infringers was introduced to Parliament yesterday.

The Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill (PDF), detailed earlier here, proposes an amendment to the Copyright Act of 1994 by repealing section 92A, which would have allowed the termination of infringer’s ISP accounts with no court action.

The new legislation would require ISP’s to provide three warnings to infringers before copyright holders are able to bring the matter before a Copyright Tribunal, which would have the power fine an infringer up to $15,000. Copyright owners will also have the ability to request that a District Court terminate an infringer’s ISP account for up to six months.

The bill’s main backer, Commerce Minister Simon Power, said that the legislation “… puts in place a fair and balanced process to deal with online copyright infringements occurring via file sharing.” He added, “It’s important that account holders are given a reasonable time to stop infringing before enforcement takes place.”

In a Q&A it was stated that, before suspension, “The Bill requires a court to consider factors like the account holder’s reliance on access to the Internet.”

Power hopes that the bill can be passed into law sometime this year.

Jordan Carter of the non-profit group InternetNZ backed the measure, but expressed concern to PC World over the possible suspension of ISP 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.

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