Internet piracy law put to test at hearing

18:19, Jan 10 2013

The first hearing under the "Skynet" anti-piracy regime is scheduled to be heard by the Copyright Tribunal in Christchurch next month in what may become an important test case.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said the Recording Industry Association (Rianz) was seeking an award against an unnamed internet user in Christchurch who had received a "third strike" for allegedly pirating music through a file-sharing service.

Rianz, which represents big record labels, has applied to bring 17 cases to the Copyright Tribunal and issued thousands of warning notices since the Copyright Act was amended in 2011 to provide "streamlined" justice for internet pirates.

Six of those applications had been dropped, the spokesman said, leaving 11 cases still live.

All the other alleged pirates are understood to have asked the tribunal to reach a decision on their cases based on the paperwork, without a full hearing.

The spokesman could not say whether any of those rulings might be out before next month's hearing.

The tribunal can make awards of up to $15,000 against pirates, and Rianz had sought awards of several thousand dollars in at least two of the dropped cases.

In one, Rianz sought about $2700 from a Wellington student whose internet account was allegedly used without her knowledge to download five songs valued at $11.75. That case also seemed destined for a formal hearing.Fairfax NZ


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