Our new copyright law is only weeks away, and it’s been decided that ISPs will be able to charge rights holders up to $25 to process infringement allegations.
The controversial Copyright Amendment Act (2011) will allow copyright owners to send evidence of infringements to ISPs, which will be responsible for sending up to three infringement notices to the account holder. The claim can then be taken to the Copyright Tribunal, with offenders facing charges of up to $15,000.
Commerce Minister Steven Power says the decision has benefits for both rights holders and ISPs.
“The Government decided that a fee of up to $25 was an appropriate compromise between what rights holders and the ISPs wanted.
“For rights holders, the fee level ensures the regime is a more cost-effective enforcement measure than what is currently available through the courts, and allows them to pursue a reasonable number of alleged copyright infringements to educate internet users,” he says.
But Labour (which, along with the Greens, remains opposed to termination of internet access as a penalty) is sceptical. IT spokesperson Clare Curran says the government is underestimating processing costs.
She says ISPs estimate the cost could actually be as high as $56 per notice.
"And that doesn't include indirect costs or the cost to establish a new or upgraded system to process infringement notices," she says.
"It's likely we will see a flood of notices from the big distribution companies into New Zealand, once the law comes into force.
"Estimating the cost for affected rights holders is not straightforward. The government suggests there will be up to 500 cases of infringement taken to the Copyright Tribunal in a year, yet previous estimates put the figure closer to 5,000 per month per ISP."
Taking a claim to the Copyright Tribunal will cost $200.
Power says the price level will allow ISPs to recover a “reasonable proportion” of their costs.
“For ISPs, the fee level prevents them from being inundated with alleged copyright breaches to the point they find it difficult to comply with the regime.”
The Copyright Amendment Act (2011) will come into effect on 1 September.
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