ISPs to charge rights holders in file sharing law

Internet providers will be able to charge rights holders to process allegations of copyright infringement. File photo / Thinkstock
Internet providers will be able to charge rights holders to process allegations of copyright infringement. File photo / Thinkstock

Internet providers will be able to charge rights holders to process allegations of copyright infringement under a controversial law designed to prevent illegal file sharing.

The Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act, which was passed under urgency in April and comes into effect on September 1, allows copyright owners to send evidence of alleged infringements to internet service providers (ISPs), which will then send up to three infringement notices to the account holder.

If the warnings are ignored, the copyright owner can take a claim to the Copyright Tribunal and the tribunal can make awards of up to $15,000 against the account holder.

Commerce Minister Simon Power today announced Cabinet had approved regulations that meant ISPs would be able to charge rights holders up to $25 to process allegations of copyright infringement.

Mr Power said the fee was an appropriate compromise between what rights holders and the ISPs wanted.

"However, we will review that six months after the Act comes into effect to make sure it's at the right level," he said.

Mr Power said the fee level was more cost-effective for rights holders than taking mattes to court, and allowed them to pursue "a reasonable number" of alleged infringements to educate internet users.

"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, and allows them to recover a reasonable proportion of their costs."

The application fee to take a claim to the Copyright Tribunal would be set at $200.

The new regulations also set out the information rights holders need to provide to ISPs in order to trigger the infringement notice process; the form and content of infringement notices sent to internet account holders by their ISP; the method by which the Copyright Tribunal determines the amount of an award for copyright infringement.

- NZPA

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