New Zealand becomes first country with three-strikes rule

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New Zealand will be one of the first countries in the world that will force implementations of a three-strikes rule to copyright infringers, after an amendment to their Copyright Act was given the royal assent, forcing ISPs to have conditions to terminate internet access for those who go over 3 strikes.

The law in question, the Copyright (New Technologies) Amendment Act 2008, will be enforced in February 2009. The law also makes provisions by giving exemptions to ISPs who cache the infringing material. The main focus, however, comes from this section of the amendment:

92A Internet service provider must have policy for terminating accounts of repeat infringers

(1) An Internet service provider must adopt and reasonably implement a policy that provides for termination, in appropriate circumstances, of the account with that Internet service provider of a repeat infringer.

(2) In subsection (1), repeat infringer means a person who repeatedly infringes the copyright in a work by using 1 or more of the Internet services of the Internet service provider to do a restricted act without the consent of the copyright owner.

However, the law could be changed if the six groups, who are against the bill, and copyright owners can make a compromise. As well, InternetNZ president Keith Davidson has said that he would like proof before terminating an infringer’s account.

"We don’t want to see people’s accounts terminated because of frivolous or specious allegations of copyright fraud but we do want to see rights holders protected,” he said to Stuff NZ.