Section 92a after six months

Stuff reports:

The Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (Rianz), which represents major record labels, said that between October and April 26 it ordered internet providers send 2766 infringement notices to people it believed it had caught pirating music, including tracks from Lady Gaga and Rihanna.

It wants to increase that to 5000 notices a month, but said the fees it had to pay internet providers for on-sending the notices would first need to be cut from $25 to $2 or less.

So it spent $60,150 on getting infringement notices sent.  And they are whining they can’t afford to spend $120,000 a month on it.

Rianz said overall use of peer-to-peer file sharing (P2P) services had fallen 18 per cent since Skynet, but it estimated that despite the “dent in piracy”, New Zealanders were still big cheats.

RIANZ claimed in their submission P2P file sharing was costing them $50m a year in sales. An 18% reduction is a saving of $9m a year for a mere $60,000. That sounds like the bargain of the century for me. And they have the cheek to claim they can not afford to send out more notices unless the price drops to $2.

The Federation Against Copyright Theft, which represents major US movie studios, said the number of times top-200 movies were viewed illegally by New Zealanders online plummeted from 110,000 in August, the month before the copyright law change took effect, to about 50,000 in September. But it said there had been no discernible progress since.

Neither it nor any of its members had ordered any infringement notices because of the $25 fee, which it said should be cut to “pennies”.

NZFACT have admitted 60,000 fewer movie downloads which at $20 each is a saving of $1.2m a month. And they have achieved this without spending a single cent. They should thank the Government for passing and funding the law which has been so effective.

The notion that ISPs should be forced to subsidise MPAA members by processing infringement notices for (almost) free is laughable, and they can’t be serious.

But Telecom said the fees should rise to $104. It said it had spent $534,416 complying with Skynet, but had been asked to send only 1238 notices.

Telecom will not be alone here. Many ISPs have spent a lot of money to comply with this law.

The submissions showed Telecom, TelstraClear and Vodafone each had one customer who had received a final “third strike” enforcement notice, which meant Rianz could have brought them in front of the Copyright Tribunal.

But all three enforcement notices have lapsed without Rianz taking action, meaning those internet users would be back on a clean sheet of “no strikes”.

Rianz won’t comment on why it hasn’t taken action on those three offenders.

InternetNZ chief executive Vikram Kumar said he was pleased Rianz had resisted pulling the trigger.

“We don’t want to see anyone fined.”

From an academic point of view I actually would like to see a third strike recipient referred to the Copyright Tribunal. That would allow us to learn what level of fines will be incurred for what severity of infringing. Also if it is contested, we might learn what the Tribunal regards as proof.

Rianz said there were now six music download stores and four “all you can eat” streaming music services operating in New Zealand, with another four streaming services planning to launch in the near future. Many had been encouraged to launch because of the crackdown on piracy, it said.

Yep, the law is working. While not perfect, the compromise reached on it means that we have a relatively balanced law on copyright. Let’s keep it that way.

Fifty-eight of its 2766 infringement notices had been challenged by internet users, but it had adjudged only two of those challenges “valid”.

Would be interesting to get details of those.

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