The third copyright decision

Stuff reports:

The Recording Industry Association is not admitting to any disappointment over the size of awards handed down by the Copyright Tribunal against people caught illegally sharing music.

The tribunal has released its third “Skynet” ruling, awarding $797.17 against a CallPlus customer who was caught pirating Elton John and Coldplay tracks.

The Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (Rianz), which represents major music labels, had asked for a $3931 penalty.

However, the tribunal instead ordered $7.17 in direct compensation, the repayment of $250 in fees Rianz had paid to get the case to the tribunal and a deterrent of $180 for each of the three “strikes”.

Now there are three cases decided, we are getting a good idea of the likely penalties.

In all three cases they have got stung for $250 of fees plus the trivial cost of the actual songs.

What has varied is the deterrent penalty which has ranged from $100 to $180 per song. This case had it at $180 and that is because the respondent didn’t file any claim at all,  This is probably the maximum deterrent that will be charged.

The $100 is for now the minimum. However in some cases they may go even lower. None of the respondents to date have had particularly strong excuses. If someone comes forward with a defence that they did take several steps to stop any file-sharing (put a password on the wireless etc) then their deterrent fee may be reduced even further.

“There are 20 legal services in New Zealand, many of them completely free, that give people the opportunity to access music online.

“The cost of the fine would have bought the person five years’ worth of access to Spotify premium, giving them access to more than 20 million tracks playable on multiple devices.”

A reasonable point.