New regime for Section 92a copyright infringements

  • Simon Power

A bill that puts in place a three-notice regime to deter illegal file sharing was passed in Parliament today.

Commerce Minister Simon Power said the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill repeals Section 92A of the Copyright Act and replaces it with a new process to deal with online copyright infringements.

“This issue has a long and chequered history and I would like to thank all submitters for their help in shaping the Government’s online copyright regime.

I look forward to the regime coming into effect on 1 September this year,” Mr Power said.

The three-notice regime involves ISPs sending warning notices to their customers informing them they may have infringed copyright. The legislation also extends the jurisdiction of the Copyright Tribunal so it provides an efficient, low-cost process to hear illegal file-sharing claims. The tribunal will be able to make awards of up to $15,000 based on damage sustained by the copyright owner.

The bill includes a power for a district court to suspend an internet account for up to six months, in appropriate circumstances. However, this element of the legislation will not be brought into force unless the notice process and the remedies by the Copyright Tribunal are ineffective.

“This will enable the Government to work with stakeholders to monitor and review the situation and determine when a further deterrent may be needed,” Mr Power said.

Another key provision is that the notice regime will not apply to cellular mobile networks until October 2013.

"Online copyright infringement has been damaging for the creative industry, which has experienced significant declines in revenue as file sharing has become more prevalent. This legislation will discourage illegal file sharing and provide more effective measures to help our creative industries enforce their copyright.”