Hamish Fletcher

Hamish Fletcher is a business reporter for the NZ Herald

Piracy notices issued but no copyright action

File photo / Brett Phibbs
File photo / Brett Phibbs

The first "three strikes" notices issued to alleged internet pirates have not resulted in action before the Copyright Tribunal, where the accused could have copped a fine of up to $15,000.

TelstraClear and Vodafone confirmed last month they had each sent an "enforcement" notice to a customer at the request of the Recording Industry Association, which represents music and recording artists.

Under a law passed last year, internet providers must issue warning and enforcement notices to customers suspected of illegally downloading copyright content, such as movies or music, if a copyright holder requests it.

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

But according to intellectual property lawyer Rick Shera, a third notice, the enforcement notice, expires after 35 days and rights holders can only file action against an accused in that time.

Given TelstraClear and Vodafone sent those notices in mid-April, the window available to file action has since closed.

Once an enforcement notice expires, so do the first two notices and the alleged offenders are "effectively back to square one", according to Shera.

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson confirmed this week that no proceedings had been brought before the tribunal.

- NZ Herald

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