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

Both TelstraClear and Vodafone confirmed last month they had sent a "enforcement" notice to a customer at the request of the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ), which represents music and recording artists.

Under a law passed last year, internet providers are required to 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 within that time.

Given TelstraClear and Vodafone sent "enforcement" notices mid-April, the window RIANZ had 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", Shera said.

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