RIANZ drops deterrent fees in case against soldier serving in Afghanistan at time of infringements

The fifth Copyright Tribunal decision has been released, this time fining a soldier deployed in Afghanistan at the time of the infringements $256.

The decision dated 7 March says the respondent in the case (the internet account holder) illegally downloaded and shared two songs; S&M by Rhianna and I Like It Like That by Hot Chelle Ray (a popular target of Kiwi pirates it seems).

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The respondent was sent the first warning notice in February last year, a second in July and the final enforcement notice in September.

However, the respondent says in the Tribunal's documents that he or she was deployed in Afghanistan at the time of the infringements. He or she is the internet account holder, but shares the flat with eight other people. 

In November the respondent wrote to the tribunal explaining the situation, but taking full responsibility for the infringement on behalf of the flat. 

"I do not wish this situation to grow any more than it needs to be. I am currently going through transitioning from military life in Afghanistan to life back home in [New Zealand] and I'm not fit to tackle this allegation made against me," says the respondent.

Sometime after this statement reached RIANZ, the organisation dropped the deterrent fee it usually seeks in these cases. 

Downloading music legally and respecting the copyrights of artists is what we should strive for, but not through laws which are unfair and punish innocent people. The three strike law particularly discriminates against those living in flats where it's not possible to ensure the online behaviours of others without creating individual internet accounts.

Last night I asked a RIANZ spokesperson to comment on the situation, including the apparent change of hearts after finding out the respondent was deployed by the Army overseas at the time. I've been told RIANZ is not making comments on this particular case.