Third 'Skynet' judgment for Elton John, Coldplay

TOM PULLAR-STRECKER
Last updated 13:18 21/02/2013
Elton John
OMINOUS MUSIC: CallPlus user cops $797.17 fine for downloading Coldplay and Elton John.

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The Recording Industry Association is not admitting to any disappointment over the size of awards handed down by the Copyright Tribunal against people caught illegally sharing music.

The tribunal has released its third "Skynet" ruling, awarding $797.17 against a CallPlus customer who was caught pirating Elton John and Coldplay tracks.

The Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (Rianz), which represents major music labels, had asked for a $3931 penalty.

However, the tribunal instead ordered $7.17 in direct compensation, the repayment of $250 in fees Rianz had paid to get the case to the tribunal and a deterrent of $180 for each of the three "strikes".

A spokesman for Rianz said today the organisation was happy with the tribunal's ruling and thought it sent a message that people caught illegally sharing music could expect a "hefty fine".

"There are 20 legal services in New Zealand, many of them completely free, that give people the opportunity to access music online.

"The cost of the fine would have bought the person five years' worth of access to Spotify premium, giving them access to more than 20 million tracks playable on multiple devices."

The "deterrent" in the latest tribunal ruling was 50 per cent higher than the benchmark of $120 per offence that was set in its first Skynet judgement.

The tribunal explained the internet user had been found to have illegally shared a total of 97 tracks and offered no explanation for the offences.

The decision follows two awards, of $616 and $557, ordered by the tribunal in cases where Rianz had also sought thousands of dollars, and appears to indicate the sums it will award against pirates in most cases are likely to remain in three figures.

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- The Dominion Post

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