Last month New Zealand passed new legislation aimed at the reduction of illicit file-sharing.
Rushed through both quickly and unexpectedly, the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill put in place a 3 strikes-style regime.
Internet service providers will initially send warning letters to alleged infringers and the country’s Copyright Tribunal will rule on cases of alleged repeat infringement and will be given the authority to hand down fines up to a maximum of NZ $15,000.
The problem is that the technology only identifies infringers by an ambiguous IP address, so innocents will be targeted – including library operators – and they will be required to pay the fine.
“The legislation appears to assume that, first of all, the account holder is a single person and the only person using the machine, which of course in a library is not what happens. The whole thing is an absolute nightmare and we really don’t see how it is going to work,” said Tony Millett of LIANZA, the Library and Information Association of New Zealand.
Millet said his concerns were raised with MPs but nothing was done to address the problem.
“One solution,” says Millet, “is withdrawing access to the internet altogether.”