Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Third strike notice withdrawn

We have seen details emerge of a third enforcement notice issued to a customer under New Zealand's 'three strikes' law. Last year New Zealand lawmakers amended the Copyright Act to introduce a three notice regime aimed at deterring file sharing that infringes copyright.

The mystery notice

The National Business Review (NBR) reports that another Internet Service Provider (ISP) has issued an enforcement notice to a customer. What is interesting about this new case is that the ISP 'supported the customer in understanding the process and making a valid challenge under the regime'. Based on this customer's circumstances, the rights holder rescinded the notice.

We don't know who the rights holder is. We don't know who the customer is. And we don't know what the alleged offence is. I wonder why the rights holder decided to extend an olive branch after sending three notices?

The story so far

It is fair to say that the legislation has not been overused. A couple of weeks ago we saw the first two final enforcement notices sent out. In both cases the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ) instructed ISPs TelstraClear and Vodafone respectively to send the notices. Both notices contained allegations of illegal download of music. See my earlier blog post.

TorrentFreak comments that it took 'a full two months for RIANZ ... to deliver their first batch of just 75 warnings. All of them related to international artists and local artists were completely absent.' The New Zealand branch of the Motion Picture Association (NZFact) is understood to have sent no notices.

The MED review

The Ministry of Economic Development (MED) has issued a Fee Review discussion document. The MED is particularly seeking submissions from ISPs and rights holders. The closing date for submissions was yesterday, 30 April 2012. As I said in an earlier blog post, I think the review will provide interesting information about how the scheme is working generally.

There are not many objective facts but TorrentFreak has some theories regarding the low uptake of the scheme. One theory suggests that the small size of the market in New Zealand means it is not worthwhile for NZFact to send notices. A related theory is that the cost of enforcement, when you are talking about thousands of notices, is too high.

Another theory suggests that RIANZ have been monitoring file-sharing networks in order to work out who is doing the most infringing. RIANZ is then selectively targeting those users first.

The cost so far

A Techday article notes that 'despite claims prior to the law’s passing that it would take thousands of infringement notices to tackle all the infringers in the country, most ISPs have reported only a few hundred notices at most, suggesting rights holders are only targeting the worst offenders'.

At a recent TelCon12 telecommunications conference in Auckland, representatives from TelstraClear, Vodafone and CallPlus all indicated that preparing for the new regime was a very expensive process. TelstraClear's Oonagh McEldowney observed that it was not just a case of receiving information and sending a notice. He commented that his company is "nowhere near recovering our setup costs."

It was also observed that many rights holder groups are yet to request any notices, with nearly all requests so far coming from RIANZ.

This review is certainly going to be interesting.

Photo courtesy of author wollombi under Creative Commons licence.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...