New Zealand working with ISPs


AUCKLAND, New Zealand -- The New Zealand recorded music industry intends to work closely with Internet service providers to ensure new copyright legislation works against online pirates.

The Copyright (New Technologies and Performers' Rights) Amendment Bill, the biggest overhaul of New Zealand copyright legislation in almost two decades, was finally passed on April 8 and is designed to clarify how copyright applies to new technologies in today's digital environment.

Campbell Smith, CEO of the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand, welcomes the passage of the bill into law because it provides content creators and users alike with a degree of certainty.

Although there had been some concerns initially over the provisions relating to ISP liability, he is pleased that the final legislation requires ISPs to engage in the fight to prevent copyright infringement on their networks.

"On behalf of our member labels and musicians, we look forward to continuing discussions with ISPs about their responsibility for protecting copyrighted content on their networks," Smith said.

"RIANZ will continue to try to work with [ISPs] to agree procedures for account suspension and termination of their copyright infringing customers," he says, warning "but if reasonable agreement cannot be reached, the government needs to be prepared to step in and legislate further if necessary."

The French and British governments have already used the threat of legislation to pressure ISPs in their respective countries to help curb illegal file-sharing.

Another important element of the New Zealand legislation is the legalization of format shifting for music for private use, which Smith describes as "reasonable and workable". Although law does give record companies to opt out of allowing format shifting, he doesn't believe RIANZ members will pursue this avenue.