Big Content pushes for tougher laws in New Zealand

Big Content claimed that New Zealand’s three strikes law has halved the number of copyright offences in the country.

According to IT News, the Federation Against Copyright Theft (NZ FACT) claims that in the first month of operation the law halved the number of times popular movies were viewed illegally online in the first month.

In a submission to a government review of the legislation’s efficiency, NZ FACT claimed New Zealanders illegally viewed movies in the top 200 online 110,000 times in August last year but only 50,000 times in September when the law came in.

But what NZ FACT was forced to admit that the law had not done much good after the first month. Another lobby group, the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ), moaned that 41 percent of New Zealand internet users accessed “copyright infringing services online” in February this year, compared to 28 percent on average globally.

Dubbed “the Skynet” law by some members of Parliament, the act allows for fines up to $15,000 on individual users if found guilty by the Copyright Tribunal.

It seems that Big Content, rather than admitting that draconian laws don’t work, are blaming the government for bringing in a $NZ25 fee payable to cover internet service providers’ costs of processing notices.

NZ FACT said it had not sent out any notices because of the fee, and called for the fee to be reduced to a few cents each.

RIANZ has only sent out a total 2766 infringement notices because it was too pricey. If the cost of complaining was reduced to a few cents it would send out 5000 infringement notices per month.

Big Content argues that the current low level of notices effectively rendered the law toothless. The public have worked out that the fear of receiving a notice are minimal.

But ISPs and telcos want a higher processing fee because it costs them a lot of dosh propping up Big Content’s business model.

Telecom New Zealand said it had spent $534,416 to comply with the “Skynet” law, sending out 1238 notices, at an individual cost of $431.68 each to the telco.