New Zealand internet service providers are concerned they will be inundated with infringement notices as the country becomes the latest to introduce a controversial “three strikes” rule.
The copyright protection measure was introduced today, making ISPs responsible for sending out warning notices to customers caught engaging in piracy. A fine of up to NZ$15,000 (€8,907) can be levied if a third letter is sent, and the government is threatening to amend the law to introduce service suspensions if piracy remains high after two years.
Cutting users off from the web is a key concern of the UN, which has called on countries with three strikes laws – currently France, Ireland and, now, New Zealand – to drop the suspension element.
However, suspensions are not the main worry in New Zealand. Instead, service providers are concerned they will struggle to cope with a stipulation that warning letters must be sent within seven days of a copyright holder flagging a breach.
The head of one ISP, Kordia subsidiary Orcon, told the New Zealand Herald he is worried about how many complaints the company will have to field. It will take at least another three months to install an automated system to deal with the complaints, he said, and in the meantime they will have to be processed manually.
Telecom NZ is also reportedly concerned that it is impossible to tell how many notices would be sent by rights holders.
On the other hand, executives from ISPs TelstraClear and Slingshot told the paper they already have mechanisms in place to deal with the complaints.