The first three copyright infringing cases

Tom Pullar-Strecker reports:

Record companies have asked for three Kiwi internet users to be hauled in front of the Tribunal and fined under the controversial “Skynet” copyright law for allegedly pirating music.

Previously the Recording Industry Association (Rianz) had limited itself to sending more than 2700 warnings to people it believed it had caught illegally sharing music through peer-to-peer networks.

There was surprise in July when it emerged the association had chosen not to take action against any of the first three internet users who had received third and final “enforcement notices” under the three-strikes regime.

But Justice Ministry spokesman Nathan Green confirmed that Rianz, which represents big labels, including EMI, Sony, Universal and Warner, had now bared its teeth by making an example of three others who had received their final notices.

“Three applications for an order requiring payment to a rights owner under Section 122(O) of the Copyright Act 1994 have been received from the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand,” he said.

From a policy point of view, I’m glad we now have some cases going to the Tribunal. It means we may learn what the Tribunal will regard as sufficient proof of infringement, what they regard as an acceptable defence (if one is offered), and what they regard as an appropriate penalty (within the legislation).

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