NZ Three-Strikes Policy in Effect

March 6, 2017

New Zealand has implemented a three strikes policy with ISPs to deter illegal filesharing. To date, however, no notices of copyright infringement have been sent to users. This has resulted in a conflict between the entertainment industry, ISPs and the government as to how high of a cost should be associated with sending out these notices. Currently, there is a $20 fee for every notice put out under the law, called the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act. It was passed in 2011 and, even though no notices have been sent out, the government does credit it with reducing the amount of illegal filesharing on the Internet.

The Fees

There is currently a debate between ISPs and the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand over the fees. The ISPs maintain that they are losing money on the notices and the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand claims that they are priced too high. The Recording Industry Association of New Zealand wanted the price of these notices cut down to literally pennies. The ISPs wanted the fees raised to cover their costs and offered data to show that they are paying out-of-pocket at the current prices.

Drops in File Sharing

According to a study by Waikato University, filesharing over P2P applications has gone down in excess of 50 percent since the legislation was put into effect, as reported in the article. The entertainment industry gives a much lower figure, 18 percent, and claims that the drop has leveled off already.

Agencies also report that people have been using VPNs and other means of enhancing their privacy so that they are not monitored by ISPs. They do not, however, give any empirical data connecting the increase in tunneling and other forms of access and illegal filesharing. VPN usage has been increasing overall across the world, and many security experts chalk it up to people simply not wanting to be spied upon rather than people specifically getting the services so that they can engage in illegal downloading.

Similar Legislation

In the United States, a similar policy has been enacted by ISPs on behalf of the entertainment industry. Rather than three strikes, however, users are given far more numerous warnings with throttled bandwidth and other sanctions being imposed along with the warning. Many users irked by the idea that their ISPs are monitoring their activity without their consent have switched over to VPNs and other secure services to protect their privacy.

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