Introduced into New Zealand parliament on 23 February 2010, the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill (Bill) was passed yesterday, ratifying a legislative regime to address online copyright infringement.

Under the regime, which repeals and replaces section 92A of the New Zealand Copyright Act 1994, copyright owners are entitled to provide Internet Service Providers (ISPs) with evidence of alleged copyright infringement by an account holder, and to make a request to issue up to three notices to stop their infringing activity.

If the account holder has not ceased their infringing activity after receiving all three notices, copyright owners are then entitled to apply to the Copyright Tribunal for compensation of up to NZ$15,000.

If the notices process and Copyright Tribunal remedies are ineffective, copyright owners can then make an application to a District Court for an order compelling the ISP to suspend the account holders access to the internet for a period of up to six months.

The new regime will come into effect on 1 September 2011. However, it will not apply to cellular mobile networks until October 2013.

Authored by Shehana Wijesena, a lawyer in Middletons Innovations & Intellectual Property group.

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