According to TorrentFreak, New Zealand’s government is in a huge rush to push through legislation that will target citizens who share copyrighted material online without rightsholder permission over the internet. The Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill, which unanimously passed its first reading in Parliament in April 2010, will put in place a 3 strikes-style rule, where Internet service providers will be required to send warning letters to alleged infringers at the request of rights holders.
New Zealand’s "Copyright Tribunal" (the group that will oversee this new three strikes rule) will have the power to rule on cases of "repeat infringement" and will be given the authority to hand down fines up to a maximum of $15,000 ($11,733 US). That’s a lot of dough and, while I’m not familiar with the laws in New Zealand there must be some sort of rule about due process and the ability to for one defend oneself against false accusations.. Repeat offenders that break the law in a six-month period could even face an Internet disconnection.
Green MP Gareth Hughes who wasn’t aware the Bill was coming up for a vote today, thinks some aspects of the law may go too far.
"It really surprised me because we haven’t debated it since November," he said.
Of course that does not mean he is opposed to the rest of the bill or what it intends to create. Hughes later confirmed with TorrentFreak that "he would request an amendment to remove the suspension clause but a spokesperson for Commerce Minister Simon Power said it would be opposed." While the Greens are against disconnections, they support the Bill in principle.
The bill is expected to pass its third and final stage during the next few hours, according to TorrentFreak.