Controversial NZ file sharing law PASSED!

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The New Zealand Government’s amendments to the Copyright Act, the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill, that was introduced last night has passed today by its Parliament with support from all major parties.

The law passed by 111 votes to 11 – only those dissenting were the Greens Party, and independent MPs Chris Carter and Hone Harawira. The amendments have also been opposed by many in New Zealand, and over the world – with the resurgence of the #blackout movement that was started in 2009.

During the debate, which was heavily followed by Twitter users, MPs were criticised – according to Stuff.co.nz – over their lack of knowledge of the basics of file sharing and the fundamentals of the Internet. One MP, Jonathan Young, even compared it to Skynet from the Terminator movies.

The new law will allow copyright owners ask for a six-month suspension of internet service to homes that have been found to have repeatedly infringe on copyrighted material. It will also introduce a “three strikes” regime, an introduction of a Copyright Tribunal that will impose a maximum penalty of NZ$15,000. ISPs will also be legally required to send notices of copyright infringement.

The new law will also allow the Commerce Minister to impose stricter conditions if it does not stop a large majority of illegal downloads.

It will come into force on September 1, with the exception of mobile networks – who will fall under this law in 2013.