Thursday, February 21, 2013

3rd copyright ruling out

Elton sez "How much? Ouch." Source
Yesterday the Copyright Tribunal announced their third ruling, over an internet user accused of uploading an Elton John song (twice), and a Coldplay song via torrent software. The user was fined $797.17, although RIANZ was asking for a $3931 penalty.

From Stuff NZ: "...The tribunal instead ordered $7.17 in direct compensation, the repayment of $250 in fees Rianz had paid to get the case to the tribunal and a deterrent of $180 for each of the three "strikes". The deterrent was slightly higher than the $120 benchmark set in its first Skynet judgement.

The tribunal explained the internet user had been found to have illegally shared a total of 97 tracks and offered no explanation for the offences.

The decision follows two awards, of $616 and $557, ordered by the tribunal in cases where Rianz had also sought thousands of dollars and appears to indicate the sums it will award against pirates in most cases are likely to remain in three figures."

Copyright lawyer Rick Shera (who works for clients on both sides of the copyright debate) commented on his blog that the ruling offers "Clear affirmation that file sharing networks, of themselves, are not illegal. Note however that the Tribunal implies that "much of the content" on such networks is infringing (although without referencing any evidence for that statement)."

Contrast this with comments from Rianz's Chris Caddick, who was reported by Newstalk ZB in January thus: 'Managing director, Chris Caddick says it takes effort to share content. He says it's a deliberate act to download a piece of software which enables peer-to-peer file sharing.'

I asked Shera via Twitter: "decision mentions there was 'no response of any kind from acct holder' - so how do they know the acct holder got the 3 warnings?"

His response: " That is part of the presumption of guilt", with this link to the Copyright Act, 122N Infringement notice as evidence of copyright infringement.

NBR notes that 'Under Section 122N of the Act - the "presumption of guilt section" as Shera and other legal critics call it - there's no requirement for a rights holder to even prove the defendant actually even received the notices.'

NBR also reports that "A rep for Rianz said the industry group had no detailed statement on the decision. But he did tell NBR ONLINE, "We think the decision is a good one and sends a message that if you illegally share files and are caught you can expect a fine. This particular fine would have bought the respondent five years of Spotify premium service. Why bother to illegally share music?"

Further reading:
NBR has the raw data - Third ruling (PDF) NBR also has the two previous rulings in full.

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