Copyright group to challenge new code

By John Drinnan

A copyright lobby group led by the local arms of Hollywood entertainment companies is set to back a draft code of practice for phone companies obliged to regulate copyright theft of music and video from the internet.

But it is understood copyright owners headed by the record industry will challenge two parts of the draft code issued yesterday by the Telecommunications Carriers Forum (TCF), dominated by Telecom and Vodafone.

They are expected to back the part of the code which says the public should have to pay a fee for the telcos to consider complaints about a breach of copyright theft. That would prevent widespread erroneous complaints as individuals sought to close down websites.

But the entertainment companies, the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand, the Australasian Performing Right Association and the Federation Against Copyright Theft are expected to push for ISPs to investigate their complaints for free.

The copyright owners are also expected to challenge the wording of the draft code and claim telcos might be able to easily dismiss an allegation of copyright theft if it is denied by a customer.

New obligations under Section 92A of the Copyright Act 2008 have drawn heavy fire from the telco and bodies such as internet New Zealand. Some in the industry say that Section 92A requires them to police the entertainment industry's property rights.

Some view this as a legal or commercial issue, others as philosophical with concerns they should not become caught regulating content. Copyright owners say that the networks make money from widespread piracy and are responsible for what is shown.

The TCF sought a delay for the new policing provisions saying too much is at stake. But the Government has rejected calls to delay the new law coming into action.

- NZ Herald

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