With the passing of the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill New Zealand has become the latest country to enact a legislative framework to combat online copyright infringement

The bill allows copyright owners to send evidence of alleged infringements to internet service providers (ISP), who will then send up to three notices to the account holder, informing them that they may have infringed copyright. If the notices are ignored, copyright owners will be able to take their claim to New Zealand’s Copyright Tribunal, which will have the power to make awards of up to $NZ15,000 against an account holder, based on damages sustained by the copyright owner

Importantly, this system, in the first instance, steers away from suspension of service of the account holder. According to New Zealand’s Commerce Minister, Simon Power, the bill includes a power for a district court to suspend an internet account for up to six months, but this element of the legislation will only be brought into force if the notice process and Copyright Tribunal remedies are ineffective

“This will enable the Government to work with stakeholders to monitor and review the situation and determine whether a further deterrent may be needed,” Power said

The new regime will come into effect on 1 September 2011. It will not apply to cellular mobile networks until October 2013

For more information about this announcement, please see: http://www.copyright.org.au/news-and-policy/show-news/id/1940/ For inquiries relating to copyright law please contact Adam Simpson.