'Three strikes' file sharing law coming sooner than you think

InternetNZ has launched a site that explains the coming 'three strikes' Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act - which will effectively come into force three weeks before its official date of September 1.

While the organisation says it does not like the new law and will advocate for change, it says the Act is still law.  Its website www.3strikes.net.nz aims to help people and organisations get ready for the new copyright law, a release from InternetNZ said.

The Amendment Act comes into force on September 1, but InternetNZ said copyright infringements start counting towards the notices regime from August 11.

The website provides the basics about the law, some commonly asked Facts and Questions, including whether watching YouTube is infringing copyright (nope), and links to groups who advocate changing the Act, including Tech Liberty and The Pirate Party.

The associated Twitter and Facebook pages are already seeing debate, with 3strikes advising users to remove unused peer-to-peer sharing software, including file folders, from their computers.  Discussion is also occurring under the #3strikesNZ hashtag.

InternetNZ chief executive Vikram Kumar said in the release that with one week to go before, people and organisations needed to take steps to reduce risks from the new law.

“The biggest issue at the moment is a lack of accurate information and, in some cases, complacency.”

Telcos not ready
However, many telcos have said they want more time to implement the Act.

Orcon boss Scott Bartlett recently told NBR his company could not have automated systems in place by September 1, given that final regulations were only set around six weeks before the deadline coming into effect. 

Mr Bartlett said it would take around six months to create automated systems. In the mean time it would have to hire temps to cover up to 10,000 hours in extra work per month sending out notices.

CallPlus chief executive Mark Callander echoed Mr Bartlett's comments. The ISP (which includes the Slingshot sub-brand) is also grappling with how to manually process infringement notices. 

The CallPlus boss said beyond the logistical challenge, his major issue was lack of information. "There's got to be a much higher level of engagement [from the MED] at some point," Mr Callander said.

Mr Kumar said as September 1 approached, InternetNZ would put up more information and advice about notices and the Copyright Tribunal. 

He said schools, universities, libraries and free wifi providers faced big risks and needed to act before August 11 to address them.  He also warned of parents’ liability as account holders.

“We strongly recommend that parents have a discussion with their kids about their use of peer-to-peer software and online file sharing in the next week.”

The organisation is also working with NetSafe to set up thecopyrightlaw.org.nz, a pure information resource that organisations “may be more comfortable linking to regardless of their views of the law,” the release said.

As the first tweet on @3strikesNZ said “The price of ignorance isn’t bliss, it’s $15,000.”

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