First File-Sharer Convicted Under New Zealand Three Strikes Law

By Drew Wilson

New Zealand is the latest in a growing list of countries convicting alleged copyright infringers over so-called three strikes laws. The accused denies involvement in every single accusation, but received a fine under the now tested law.

Earlier this month, we reported that the New Zealand three strikes law was going to be tested. Now, reports have surfaced that the tribunal has handed down its first conviction.

The accused was fined $616.57 for multiple copyright violations. The first violation revolved around the song Man Down by Rhianna which the accused admitted to downloading. Another violation revolved around the Hot Chelle Rae which the accused denied any involvement with.

From the NZHerald:

The tribunal ordered the pirate to pay the costs of purchasing the tracks ($6.57), $50 towards the costs RIANZ inccured for sending the notices and $200 for the cost of bringing the case to the copyright body.

The offender was also ordered to pay a deterrent sum of $360 ($120 per infringement).

In a previous report, we noted that RIANZ (the New Zealand arm of the RIAA or Recording Industry Association of America) sought $2700 from a Wellington student, however, knowing that there were multiple cases involved, it’s unclear whether or not the same case is being referenced in both reports.

Regardless, this does appear to set the stage for future convictions where mere accusations of infringement are enough to convict an individual. At this point, there aren’t many people facing third strike hearings, but whether that small number will continue or increase in the future remains to be seen. Judging by the litigation tactics in the US by the RIAA, trying to target a few individuals in an effort to deter the masses from file-sharing never really worked.

Another interesting thing to watch may also be whether or not the cost of running such a three strikes system will run into the same financial problems as HADOPI. As we noted while covering HADOPI, there were serious concerns over if that system is cost effective or not. Specifically, one criticism was that 12 million euros is a lot of money when it’s going to pay 60 agents to send 1 million e-mails with no measurable effect on the culture of file-sharing.

Still, it is early days into the system and we’ll be following this with great interest.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85

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