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Scope of New Zealand copyright law changes limited to P2P file sharing

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 21-Jul-2011 11:59

Sharing a release received from InternetNZ today:

InternetNZ (Internet New Zealand Inc) has obtained clarification from the Ministry of Economic Development (MED) that the intention of the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act 2011 is to cover copyright infringement by online file sharing using peer-to-peer protocols only.

The new notices and penalty regime introduced by these amendments is not intended to cover video/music streaming websites or online file lockers.

InternetNZ Chief Executive Vikram Kumar says, "What this means is that watching videos on YouTube or via blinkx, streaming music from Grooveshark, and downloading from online file lockers like MediaFire and 4shared will not be subject to the changes introduced by the amendments to the law coming into force on 1 September 2011. MED's confirmation addresses some of the questions that arose when we were looking at the law changes in detail".

"It keeps the scope of the changes narrowly focussed on copyright infringements by online file sharing via peer-to-peer networks and applications. This will be welcomed by many people. However, despite the intentions behind the law, the definitive interpretation will come from decisions made by the Copyright Tribunal and Courts if this aspect of the law is ever tested."

"Streaming websites and online file lockers typically provide copyright owners with a more direct means of enforcing their rights.

Generally, this is achieved by copyright owners providing a notice directly to the website that infringing content is appearing on the site and needs to be removed. For example, YouTube has tools like Content ID and a Copyright Verification Tool that enable copyright owners to easily identify, control, and even remove their content from the site."

"This clarification doesn't mean that copyright infringements by means other than peer-to-peer applications and networks aren't covered by the Copyright Act. The Internet Service Providers' liability provisions inserted by the Copyright (New Technologies) Amendment Act 2008 of general infringement (92B), storing infringing material (92C), and caching (92E) still continue. Rights owners can continue to seek enforcement through the Courts. However, they can't use the new streamlined provisions of sections 122A to 122U for alleged infringements relating to Internet Service Providers' storage and caching of infringing content."

"This is a good time to emphasise that peer-to-peer technologies aren't in themselves bad. Quite the contrary. These technologies provide significant advantages for many legitimate uses, such as eliminating the single point of failure typical of client-server systems and distributing computing resources. For example, peer-to-peer technologies are extensively used by popular services like Facebook, Skype and Twitter as well as for efficient data distribution in scientific research and Linux distributions. So blocking peer-to-peer protocols rather than focussing on copyright infringement in response to the law changes is a bad response."

Explanatory note

"Streaming" is a technique for transferring data so that it can be processed as a steady and continuous stream. This allows a person to start watching online, say a video or TV show, without waiting to get the whole file. Typically, streaming is used in a one-to-many situation. "Peer-to-peer" on the other hand is a distributed architecture where peers are both consumers and suppliers. People can connect directly with other people and is therefore used in a many-to-many situation.

Examples of peer-to-peer protocols include Gnutella and BitTorrent.

Popular peer-to-peer software includes uTorrent, BitComet, FrostWire, Ares, LimeRunner, and Vuze.

Online file lockers are ways for storing and sharing a wide variety of files online. Examples of online file lockers include MediaFire and 4shared.



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Mauricio Freitas
Wellington
New Zealand


I live in New Zealand and my interests include mobile devices, good books, movies and food of course! 

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