by Gareth Hughes
Skynet isn’t working
The Skynet (Copyright Infringing File Sharing Act) law was much criticised when it was rammed through under urgency last term and now evidence is emerging it’s simply not working.
It was reported today that two people who received “third strikes” for sharing music over the internet and could have faced fines up to $15,000, have been let off the hook because the rights holder failed to act and the notice lapsed.
In this case Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (Rianz) didn’t take the alleged offenders to the Copyright Tribunal within 35 days so the notices lapsed. So far Rianz has sent out 2000 infringement notices, with none from other sectors like the film industry.
I think the evidence overseas shows punitive three-strike laws to reduce copyright infringing aren’t the best way to reduce offending, and perhaps Rianz has come to the same conclusion?
While this law hasn’t ‘punished’ anyone yet, it still comes with a big cost. The New Zealand Telecommunications Forum in their recent submission says that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have spent at least $919,000 on set-up costs dealing with the Skynet law. This cost will ultimately have to be recovered from Internet users.
So here we have; the industry is, after years of lobbying hard for this law, effectively passing real business costs on to ISPs, now failing to even use these powerful tools.
The Government is currently considering what the right fee for processing notices is, but I would urge them in light of the failure to even take a case to the Tribunal and the emergence of legal alternatives to file-sharing like Spotify and Quickflix to review the whole Act.