RIANZ – Downloading P2P Software Proof of Wrongdoing

By Drew Wilson

The day after New Zealand saw its first conviction under the so-called “three strikes law”, the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ) went on the airwaves to discuss the development. Managing director Chris Caddick said in a radio interview that the very act of downloading a file-sharing program in an and of itself is proof of wrongdoing.

We’ve been closely monitoring the situation in New Zealand where the three strikes law, sometimes referred to as the Skynet law, is making headlines. Earlier this month, Freezenet was one of the first this year to report on the developments that the first file-sharer would be convicted under the law that was financed and lobbied for by the United States.

The day after the first conviction, RIANZ director Chris Caddick took part in a radio interview where he discussed the verdict. Caddick commented on how unfortunate it is that RIANZ had to send all three notices to this individual (note: the accused denied involvement in at least one of the accusations).

Later into the interview, the host asked how many people copyrighted music not knowing that it is illegal. Caddick responded saying that no one downloads copyrighted music online without knowing that it’s wrong. He went further by saying that it takes effort to download copyrighted music because it requires file-sharing software to do so. This is puzzling given that users can use cyber lockers without manually downloading software. He then said that just the act of downloading the file-sharing software is enough to prove the individual is partaking in wrongdoing. This in spite of the fact that it’s possible to download authorized music on a file-sharing network.

One might respond to this by saying it’s a lot like walking into a club. If a gang member happens to be in the same building, does that automatically mean that the individual is now a gang member who is liable for whatever crimes that gang participates in? That doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense. To our knowledge, there’s technically nothing illegal about downloading free file-sharing software nor does it automatically mean that the user is a copyright infringer.

Of course, this is only the beginning of the enforcement of the three strikes law in New Zealand and it’s only a matter of time before more developments occur.

We tried contacting the New Zealand Pirate Party on this matter and have not received a response as of this writing.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85

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