Hamish Fletcher

Business reporter for the NZ Herald

Movie makers yet to move on piracy

New Zealand representatives of production studios such as Warner Bros, maker of The Hangover Part II, have yet to file any copyright notices. Photo / Supplied
New Zealand representatives of production studios such as Warner Bros, maker of The Hangover Part II, have yet to file any copyright notices. Photo / Supplied

Movie studios are still sitting on their hands as the music industry begins cracking down on internet piracy.

It was revealed on Tuesday that Orcon, Telecom, TelstraClear and Vodafone all received their first infringement notices under the Government's new copyright regime, which came into effect on September 1.

At least 75 notices have been sent from the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (Rianz) for the alleged illegal download of songs by artists including Rihanna and Lady Gaga.

The four internet companies said they would check the warning notices then send them on to the alleged offenders within the next week.

But the New Zealand Federation Against Copyright Theft (NZFACT) acts on behalf of movie studios and its executive director, Tony Eaton, said the group was yet to decide a course of action, despite claiming in July that about 160,000 illegal transfers of films and television programmes occurred each month in 2010.

"We're still considering our options at the moment, but for the Copyright Amendment Act to be workable so that rights holders can equitably protect their works, several provisions do need to be reviewed, including the high cost of issuing notices," Eaton said. "In the interim, we're committed to supporting the legislation where we can and have launched a national education campaign to support its introduction."

Internet companies can charge rights holders $25 for each notice sent.

"We do believe a workable solution can be found moving forward," he said.

NZFACT was established in 2005 by the Motion Picture Association, an organisation which "serves as the voice and advocate of the American motion picture, home video and television industries".

NZFACT members include Village Roadshow, Walt Disney Studios, Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros.

The Government's "three strikes" law requires internet companies to issue warning notices to customers suspected of illegally downloading copyright content - such as movies or music - if a rights holder requests it and pays the fee.

After a third notice, rights holders can bring a case before the Copyright Tribunal, which can fine an offender up to $15,000.

TelstraClear, Telecom, Orcon and Vodafone said yesterday that they had not received any more notices.

Orcon chief executive Scott Bartlett said he expected the notices would come in weekly batches.

- NZ Herald

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