We will update this periodically from forum discussions and provide more information about notices, challenges, Copyright Tribunal processes, etc. over time. At the moment the focus is on getting ready.
If you haven’t already read the basics of the new law, read that first. These FAQs will then make more sense.
You get 2 warning notices and, following the 3rd notice, the copyright owner can take you to the Copyright Tribunal. 3 notices = 3 strikes. Other countries flirting with this “graduated response” approach also refer to it as a 3 strikes law.
Why 3 and not 2 or 4 or some other number? No one really knows. In the US, they’ve recently gone for 6 strikes and no fines or account termination.
No. The intention of the law changes is to crack down on peer-to-peer file sharing
(see details in InternetNZ press release).
Yes. The intention of the law changes is to crack down on peer-to-peer file sharing
(see details in InternetNZ press release).
Online file lockers are ways for storing and sharing a wide variety of files online. Examples of online file lockers include MediaFire and 4shared. Downloading and uploading files from online file lockers that infringe copyright are not covered by the new law. These acts are already penalised by existing law targeting Internet Service Providers (section 92C).
(see details in InternetNZ press release)
Copyright owners often buy infringement detection services from third party specialists who use a variety of detection methods. Detection is based on IP (Internet Protocol) addresses. One method is for copyright owners to buy a list of offending IP addresses and send notices to all of them using automated processes. In this case, it doesn’t matter whether the person is a one-off downloader or a high-volume downloader.
On the other hand, some copyright owners overseas are known to specifically target IP addresses that occur frequently in detection lists or are big file sharers. So they do have the ability to target action against specific IP addresses if they choose to.
Illegally downloading a movie or TV show one-off is less risky compared to downloading lots of files based on probability of detection. But even downloading a single infringing file can lead to your getting a notice.
Yes. The first that you’ll probably know about it is when you get a notice from your Internet Service Provider. This applies in all cases, for example parents in relation to their children; businesses for their employees; libraries for their users; and universities/schools for students.
While that is our reading of the law, the official advice from the Ministry of Economic Development differs. See the answer on page 4 to the question “Will I be liable for infringements that occurred on my account, but that someone else committed?”
The official advice is that it may be possible to have a defence at the Copyright Tribunal that someone else, without the account holder’s knowledge and/or authorisation, was responsible for the copyright infringement. We call this the “it wasn’t me” or the “my wifi got hacked” defence.
We don’t believe this defence is allowed under the law. It is possible that the defence, if applicable, may be grounds to argue for a lower penalty at the Copyright Tribunal. It will almost certainly not be accepted by rights owners if used to challenge a notice.
Note that the official advice is in relation to a sub-set of account holders only, i.e. at home, but not for organisations like schools, universities, libraries, employers, free wifi providers, etc.
We will update this information if we become aware of the defence being used and whether or not it was successful.
Yes. You are the account holder and will therefore be liable for the actions of your tenant or lessee. Similarly, you’ll be liable for the actions of guests using your home Internet account.
Maybe, maybe not. It’s still too early to tell.
Providers of free wifi ancillary to their main business, for example free Internet from a retail coffee chain or a library or airport lounges, are defined as “account holders” by the new law. This makes them liable for any copyright infringement using online file sharing by their users. The same applies to people who have an open wifi and are happy for the community to use their Internet connection.
The law changes are likely to be an unacceptable situation for many and they may decide to stop providing free Internet access altogether. Others may decide that putting in some measures, such as banning peer-to-peer file sharing, is sufficient to manage the risks and continue to provide free wifi.
On the other hand, due to specific circumstances, some free wifi providers may get legal advice they are not liable under the new law and continue. We know of one City Council in this position and they are continuing to provide free Internet access (for the time being anyway).
File downloading and file sharing aren’t illegal in themselves but copyright infringement is, howsoever done. It’s important for you to know what the new law covers and what it doesn’t- look at the basics of the new law. Use legal sources if available. At the very least, minimise your risks by protecting yourself.
If you’re asking how you can continue to break the law, then that’s a topic off-limits for this website.
Yes. Allegations of copyright infringement made against you are presumed to be correct unless you give evidence or reasons why it shouldn’t be. However, if you do provide evidence or reasons, then the copyright owner needs to prove that their accusations are correct.
Perhaps one day someone may challenge this on the grounds of violating the Bill of Rights.
The new law doesn’t require the Internet Service Provider to do so. It’s up to the copyright owners to detect infringements and notify your Internet Service Provider.
However, there may be some Internet Service Providers who choose to either monitor or restrict what their customers can do with their Internet connection. For example, some Internet Service Providers may try to block all peer-to-peer traffic, irrespective of whether it’s being used for infringing copyright or not.
Your Internet Service Provider will send you a notice in the same way as they send you a bill (unless you have agreed to get it in some different way).
No. Even if you challenge a notice from your Internet Service Provider, they will remove your personal information before passing it on the copyright owner. Your Internet Service Provider has to provide your (i.e. the account holder’s) name and contact details to the Copyright Tribunal when directed by the Tribunal.
The copyright owner making an allegation of your infringing their copyright under the new law pays your Internet Service Provider $25 per notice sent to you. They pay $200 to apply to the Copyright Tribunal for penalising you.
Only the Copyright Tribunal can order you to pay a penalty to the copyright owner. Overseas, copyright owners often approach alleged infringers with offers of a negotiated settlement. This practice may emerge in New Zealand too.
The cost of Internet Service Providers in sending you a notice is more than $25 but they have to bear the difference. They also have to pay for setting up systems to comply with the new law. These costs, to the extent they are passed on to us as customers, are costs that we all have to pay through higher Internet access costs.
See Changing the law
It’s been repealed and replaced by the new law.