Three Strikes Cost Argued

New Zealand-based record and movie companies continue to feud with Internet service providers, and this time it’s over the cost of sending infringement warnings to serial illegal downloaders.

The controversial “three strikes” policy was introduced in September 2011 threatening fines of up to $15,000 (US$12,085).

The Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) pointed out that the number of times the 200 most popular movies were viewed illegally dropped from 110,000 in August to 50,000 in September.

But the figure remained stagnant because it costs the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIAZ) $25 (US$20.14) each time to issue an infringement notice to an ISP to forward to customers.

RIAZ, which issued 2,766 notices between October 2011 and April 26, 2012, told the Economic Development Ministry the cost should be dropped to $2 per notice. This way it could issue 5,000 notices a month and make the law effective.
It said 41 percent of New Zealanders accessed illegal music and movie files this February, compared with the global average of 28 percent.

But telecommunications companies such as Telecom and ISPs TelstraClear and Vodafone argue the fee should be upped to $104 (US$83.79).

Telecom claimed it has spent $534,416 to send out 1,238 notices at the cost of $431.68 each. Nearly 60 of its customers challenged the notices; 56 were found to have infringed copyright.