Probable amendment to the Copyright Act

Introduction: The New Zealand government is currently looking at bringing in law changes around copyright to try and deal with the issue of file sharing online. This could have an impact on schools if material is either downloaded or posted online for students to access that breaks copyright.

Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill 119-1 (2010)

You can visit the government legislation website to get a copy of this bill.

Basically, the Bill provides a regime that aims to—

  • deter file sharing that infringes copyright:
  • educate the public about the problem:
  • compensate copyright owners for damage sustained from copyright infringement by file sharing:
  • provide sanctions for serious copyright infringers:
  • limit ISP liability that may result from account holders’ infringing file sharing

Summary of the bill

This bill proposes a three-notice system for people breaking copyright through file sharing (see file sharing definition below) and broadens the definition of an ISP (who are not liable for copyright infringement) to include businesses and universities.

The three-notice regime is composed of a ‘detection notice’, followed by a ‘warning notice’ if the Internet subscriber is accused of infringing copyright again, and an ‘enforcement notice’ which can lead to a maximum $15,000 fine and a 6-month suspension of your Internet connection by order of a District Court.

A time limit applies to each stage of the regime, one of which requires copyright owners alleging infringement to notify an ISP within 1 week of the alleged infringement occurring. The ISP must then match the ‘IP Address’ of the account holder whom the alleged infringement relates to, and issue the appropriate infringement notice to the account holder within 1 week of receiving that information.

File sharing is where material— “(a) is downloaded from the Internet; or “(b) is made available on the Internet by a user in a form in which the material may be downloaded by 1 or more other users; or “(c) is transferred, directly or indirectly, via the Internet from one user to another user”

Submissions on the bill

A number of submissions have been made in relation to this bill and many can be viewed online. They give different perspectives on the file sharing issue and alternative ways to deal with the problem.

Internet NZ submission
Creative Freedom NZ


If a school could have its internet connection withdrawn by an ISP due to 'file sharing' activity, what would be the effect on school policies and practices?

Reflection: What do you think? Leave a message in the DISCUSSION tab above (this will appear in the thread below).

Subject Author Replies Views Last Message
What could be the consequences? tessagray tessagray 2 210 Aug 11, 2010 by tessagray tessagray