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Controversial Three Strikes law halves piracy in New Zealand

A controversial ‘SkyNet’ three strikes law against internet piracy in New Zealand came into force on the 1st September 2011 which has halved online piracy according to the Record Industry Association of New Zealand.

From August to September 2011 when the new law took effect, the number of times the top 200 movies were viewed illegally online fell from 110,000 to 50,000 according to the Federation Against Copyright Theft who represents the major US movie studios.  Apparently the number hasn’t fallen since then, though.

The law itself works by sending out two ‘warning’ letters for the first two offences.  If you offend again, a third letter is sent out and the copyright owner can take you to the Copyright Tribunal.  The minimum fine is NZ$275 but this can inflate to NZ$15,000 depending on the severity of the offence.

Despite the 18%  fall in piracy with the introduction of ‘SkyNet’ according to RIANZ, they also claim that New Zealanders are still ‘big cheats’.  Around 41% of New Zealanders accessed copyright infringing material via P2P networks in February, compared to a global average of 28%.

If 5,000 notices were sent out every month to P2P users who are infringing copyright, this would only cover 5% of these users.  This means the chances of receiving a warning letter are very small so a lot of users are likely to carry on offending.

Only three people have received three strikes since the law came into force but RIANZ has let the enforcement notices lapse without taking any action.  They won’t comment on why they haven’t taken any action.

For more information on the three strikes law, please click here and here.

KitGuru says: It’s not clear whether RIANZ will start fining users in the future but at the moment, there doesn’t seem to be much incentive for users to stop downloading copyright infringing material.

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