A protest over new copyright law - facetiously dubbed Skynet by opponents - designed to prevent illegal file sharing over the internet failed to attract a large following in Auckland today.

The Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill due to become law on Thursday. Under the law, copyright owners can send evidence of alleged infringements to internet service providers, which would then send up to three infringement notices to the internet account holder. The copyright owner can then take a claim to the Copyright Tribunal and the tribunal can make awards of up to $15,000 against the account holder.

About 30 people gathered in Auckland's Aotea Square at midday and listened to music and speeches.

Other protests were planned in Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

The law was widely ridiculed when National rushed it through Parliament under urgency when New Plymouth MP Jonathan Young erroneously compared the internet to Skynet - the fictional supercomputer villain of the Terminator films.