The first copyright filesharing decision

January 31st, 2013 at 7:57 am by David Farrar

The Tribunal has delivered its first decision under the relatively new file-sharing law. The key aspects are:

  • Infringement notices sent on 24 Nov 11, 19 Jun 12 and and 30 Jul 12.
  • Cost of songs calculated at $6.57 for three songs. Rejected RIANZ submission that you should multiply costs of songs by average number of downloads.
  • The costs to RIANZ of the three notices was $75 or $25 a notice. Determined that the account holder should pay 1/3 of the initial notice, 2/3 of second notice and 1005 of third notice so $50 of the $75 in total.
  • Account holder to pay 100% of the $200 Tribunal fee
  • A deterrent fee of $120 per infringement
  • This makes a total fine of $616.57 – pretty expensive for three songs.

Future decisions are likely to reference this one. It is likely that $600 is close to the minimum an account holder will pay if found to have infringed – unless they make the case for mitigating circumstances such as demonstrating they took steps to stop people with access to the account from file-sharing.

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17 Responses to “The first copyright filesharing decision”

  1. Left Right and Centre (2,821 comments) says:

    Have I got this right… they were served infringement notices for three songs, but how many were downloaded?

    Like… people who speed all the time but only get caught now and then….

    So… it was $600 odd for… quite a few more than only three songs and whatever else they thiefed?

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  2. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    I await to hear of new software to hide ones IP address………..

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  3. Sadu (128 comments) says:

    I actually think they got the balance of this about right. A $600 fine is enough of a deterrent to make most people not want to get one. But it won’t ruin someone’s life, like a $15k fine could.

    And let’s face it – music piracy is not a life-ruining offence.

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  4. anonymouse (695 comments) says:

    Interesting that one of the factors in the $120 deterrent fee was the fact that she continued to seed to files with utorrent,

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  5. Chris2 (758 comments) says:

    There is already plenty of software available to mask an IP address.

    This was a very soft case for RIANZ as the respondent readily admitted to the downloading of the songs (and she apologised for it). RIANZ drew a long bow with some of its claims and this early decision is likely to clip its wings in trying to make such extravagant claims for financial loss in the future.

    RIANZ claimed that once the user had downloaded the 3 songs to her PC that the peer-to-peer programme then made the songs available to anyone else to upload from her PC and that the Tribunal ought to punish her for that too, and RIANZ further claimed 700,000 in NZ access peer-to-peer files like this every month. The Tribunal rejected this argument.

    In the end the Tribunal rejected RIANZ inflated claims about its supposed financial loss and instead calculated the total loss to RIANZ for the three songs downloaded to be just $6.57 ! The remainder of the “fine” was for filing fees incurred by RIANZ, and a deterrence fine of $360 ($120 per song).

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  6. davidp (3,540 comments) says:

    All three songs could have been legally watched and downloaded from YouTube. It is trivial to rip the mp4 YouTube videos to mp3 audio files so they could be loaded on to an mp3 player. I fail to see why downloading music from YouTube is legal, but downloading the exact same music via BitTorrent is illegal.

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  7. Archer (170 comments) says:

    Music ripped from Youtube videos is shocking quality though.

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  8. speters (108 comments) says:

    I’m fairly sure downloading music from Youtube is illegal?

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  9. Archer (170 comments) says:

    Probably, but they can’t monitor it the same way they do with torrents so it is a safe way to get mp3s (albeit of poor quality).

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  10. davidp (3,540 comments) says:

    Archer>Music ripped from Youtube videos is shocking quality though.

    Is that true these days? Video from YouTube used to be fairly low resolution, but now you can watch 720 and 1080 versions of videos. That’s resolution that matches or exceeds television quality. I presume that the audio quality has increased to match the video quality. But, how good does it have to be to sound good on mp3 player headphones while someone is walking down the street or traveling on a bus?

    I don’t see how saving YouTube clips on your PC can be illegal. That would mean anyone storing any web content locally would be a criminal. Right click on a web image and save, and you could be fined. Save Page As, and you could be fined. Save a Word document to read it later, offline, and you could be fined. But assume it is true and saving clips off YouTube is a crime… We’re left with the perverse situation that someone streaming a music video off YouTube and watching it on their smartphone while they’re on a bus is not a criminal. But someone saving that same music video offline and watching it later on their smartphone while they’re on a bus is a criminal. Or, to put it another way… If the video is being delivered via Telecom’s network then you’re not a criminal, but if it is being delivered by your smartphone’s onboard memory then you are a criminal.

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  11. Redbaiter (7,640 comments) says:

    Morons- quality of Youtube music is no different to stock mp3. Whatever you choose.

    This whole scenario is just more of the same old same old socialist crap- corrupt bureaucrats in bed with a corrupt private sector.

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  12. RRM (9,471 comments) says:

    We introduced the kids to some 90s rock yesterday simply by running youtube videos through the amp and my big speakers.

    The versions of Song 2, Pretty Fly For a White Guy and Scooby Snacks that we found all sounded pretty good even at decent volume.

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  13. Redbaiter (7,640 comments) says:

    90s rock?

    FFS..!!

    Good grounds for having your kids taken off you.

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  14. RRM (9,471 comments) says:

    You should listen to I sucked a lot of c**k to get where I am” by Regurgitator. I think you’d be surprised at how well they understand your pain Weddy.

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  15. Psycho Milt (2,267 comments) says:

    How much cock would you really have to suck to become an internet blowhard? I’m picking it’s actually not a large amount at all.

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  16. Viking2 (11,146 comments) says:

    Have you had too much already Psycho Milt ?

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  17. leftyliberal (642 comments) says:

    The tribunal here was relatively fair I think – they rejected silly claims, and gave a small but not insignificant deterant. Given the current law, this is about the best that could be expected.

    Ofcourse, noone except RIANZ (and their lawyers) will get anything out of it. It would be nice if the artists got their cut from the $6.57 at least, right?

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