First copyright infringement notices issued

TOM PULLAR-STRECKER
Last updated 14:50 01/11/2011

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Telecom says it received notices from the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand overnight asking it to send copyright infringement notices to 42 customers that the association has accused of internet piracy.

Earlier today Orcon chief executive Scott Bartlett said it had received notices from Rianz in respect of the activities of eight of its customers and that it would be sending them infringement notices.

TelstraClear spokesman Gary Bowering said it had received a few dozen allegations of copyright infringement and was in the process of validating them. "If they are found to meet the criteria of the new file sharing regulations then we will pass on these allegations to the relevant customers in accordance with the obligations set out in the Copyright Amendment Act."

The notices will be the first sent under the two-month old "Skynet" law, which was passed by Parliament to combat piracy over peer-to-peer file-sharing networks.

Telecom spokeswoman Anna Skerten said the notices it had received from Rianz appeared to comply with the conditions of the Copyright Amendment Act.

Forty of the 50 notices sent to Telecom and Orcon concerned the illegal download of Rihanna tracks and another six to Lady Gaga tracks.

Rianz will need to fork out $25 per notice to recompense ISPs for sending the notices to their customers, but could recover that cost if the infringements continue and the internet downloaders are fined after a ''third strike''.

Vodafone said it had also received "a few" notices.

People accused of internet piracy can be fined up to $15,000 once they have received their third infringement notice, under the controversial "three strikes" law. At a minimum they are likely to be required the reimburse rights holders for the $275 cost of paying for their three infringement notices and bringing a case against them to the tribunal, if found guilty by the Copyright Tribunal.

HOW THE PROCESS WORKS

Step 1: Copyright owner detects an infringement and sends the internet protocol (IP) address to the relevant internet provider which forwards a ''detection notice'' to their customer.

Step 2: A second infringement between 28 days and nine months later against the same owner or one represented by a shared body will trigger a "warning notice".

Step 3: A third infringement between 28 days and nine months later will result in an enforcement notice and the internet provider will forward the customer's details to the Copyright Tribunal, if asked to do so by the copyright owner who has five weeks to decide whether to take action.

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Step 4: The Copyright Tribunal can impose a fine of up to $15,000 after examining written evidence, or after a hearing if that is requested by either party.

The Fine Print: Internet users can challenge notices, through their internet provider, but they will stand unless withdrawn by the rights holder.

- The Dominion Post

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