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First fine handed out under New Zealand’s three strikes law

The first fine has been issued under New Zealand’s three strikes anti-illegal downloading regime, according to a report in Stuff.co.nz

The unnamed user, who received a fine of NZ $616 ($500), had illegally downloaded Rihanna’s “Man Down” and Hot Chelle Rae’s “Tonight Tonight” for her third strike.

The system, part of the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act, came into effect on September 1 2011. Detection notices are issued for the first and second instances to inform the user that he/she is downloading infringing material. If the user downloads infringing material a third time, an enforcement notice is issued.

Each instance of infringement must be more than 28 days apart. If the user downloads infringing material less than 28 days after a notice is issued, the subsequent action is recorded but there will be no additional notice.

After three notices, the copyright owner may file a complaint to the Copyright Tribunal. The rights owner may seek a fine of up to NZ$15,000 ($12,500). The Act also gives courts discretion to terminate the user’s internet account for up to six months.

Some rights holders have complained about the cost to issue a notice, set at NZ$25 ($20) plus taxes. A spokesperson for the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ) told Stuff.co.nz that it had issued about 6,000 notices since the law came into effect.

Some provisions have not yet come into effect. The three strikes system does not cover mobile internet usage at this time, though it is set to do so on October 1 2013.

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