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On Thursday, April 14th, 2011, New Zealand enacted legislation that puts in place a three-notice regime aka Three Strikes to deter illegal file sharing. The law has its roots back in the year 2008 when the Copyright Amendment Act was first passed.
While the newly introduced Copyright Bill and the three notice regime is basically meant to educate people about illegal file sharing and to provide effective methods for copyright owners to enforce their copyright, this P2P File Sharing Ban has led to a number of protests in New Zealand.
Originally scheduled to take effect on March 27th, 2009, this controversial Copyright Bill has ensued public outcry and the refusal of at least one ISP to participate forced New Zealand Prime Minister John Key to throw out the controversial Section 92A response.
New Zealand’s law follows efforts in the UK, France, South Korea, Ireland, Australia and elsewhere through legislation or voluntary agreement to implement a regime to deter online file sharing. However, Green Party and two Independent MPs are against the law and were actually accused of not understanding the file sharing, online piracy and Internet basics.
Some countries like Netherlands, Spain and the U.S.A have proposals to enact this law to block file sharing, shut down pirate websites, or to seize their domain names to prevent or inhibit access to such sites to reduce online file sharing.
As Commerce Minister Simon Power stated “Online copyright infringement has been damaging for the creative industry, which has experienced significant declines in revenue as file sharing has become more prevalent”.
How does the new P2P ban impact the netizens in New Zealand?
Well, the newly passed Infringing File Sharing law ensures that file sharers are given adequate warnings that unauthorized sharing of copyright works is illegal. It allows for penalties up to NZ$15,000($12,000) to be paid to the copyright owner. And if the offenders refuse to pay, their internet account will be suspended for up to six months. The Internet Service Providers should send up to three infringement notices to the internet account holders.
As a result, the copyright owners will be empowered to send evidence of alleged infringements to the ISPs. If the infringer ignores the warnings then a claim can be made to the Copyright Tribunal which orders the offenders to pay up to NZ$ 15,000 to the copyright owners.
The Copyright Law came into force when an MP3 music file was downloaded through a peer-to-peer website. Earlier Dutch law only outlawed uploading copyrighted material; it is considered as an illegal distribution. Downloading copyrighted material for personal use is legal, at least for content other than games and software but the Government wants to ban movies and music too.
As much as we are against “Copyright violations”, we do understand that there are many advantages of P2P File Sharing like P2P protocol enable high speed file transfer with limited bandwidth requirements and at no additional charge to the users. Perhaps the government should work out its way to ban illegal copyright file sharing (via P2P file sharing and even otherwise) instead of forbidding P2P File Sharing itself.
For those you who want to use P2P file sharing for legal and personal purposes (and not for any illegal activities), we recommend using VPN service to change your IP location. Choosing a secure VPN connection would enable people to share files in a more secured way. The problem is, and always will be when it comes to holding an alternate IP address, it will be even more difficult to trace down the offender who uses the internet secretly.
In the end, the onus lies with the netizens to use the available internet services for legal purposes only and avoid illegal file sharing using VPN as well.
Let’s hope for a piracy-free world!
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