First Three Strikes Case In New Zealand Goes To Hearing

from the and-you're-out dept

Back in 2011, we wrote about New Zealand’s rush to put in place a three strikes law that involved punishment for people accused — not convicted — of copyright infringement online. Having gone into effect, it looks like the Copyright Tribunal set up to deal with such cases is now about to have its first hearing concerning someone who got a third strike. As the report notes, the big labels, represented by RIANZ (the New Zealand version of the RIAA — representing the same labels), has sought action against 17 people who got three strikes. Six cases were dropped (reason unknown, but probably because they paid large sums of money to RIANZ — or because RIANZ realized they were about to be completely embarrassed by someone who had done nothing wrong.), and another 10 sought to have the Tribunal make its decision based on written submissions alone. Only one person sought to have a full hearing which is getting underway soon.

Unlike the US’s six strikes effort, the NZ one is a lot more draconian, with significant fines likely, even in cases of incidental and minimal sharing:

The tribunal can make awards of up to $15,000 against pirates, and Rianz had sought awards of several thousand dollars in at least two of the dropped cases.

In one, Rianz sought about $2700 from a Wellington student whose internet account was allegedly used without her knowledge to download five songs valued at $11.75. That case also seemed destined for a formal hearing.

Yes, RIAA/RIANZ, that’s exactly how to rally the public to your cause. Demand $2,700 for someone who had an internet account on which someone else downloaded $11.75 worth of songs. And you wonder why people think all of these “piracy” efforts are insane… Here’s a tip to the RIAA/MPAA and all related groups: if you want to be taken more seriously, stop attacking your fans and try to figure out how to better serve them.

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Comments on “First Three Strikes Case In New Zealand Goes To Hearing”

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bob (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I find this kind of talk amusing. No one buys music from a label. They buy the music from an artist. The label is just a publishing arm and all of the fans follow the artists who jump from label to label.

So who would bother to boycott a label. Is someone going to say, “I wanted to buy that song until I found out it was published by Sony.” Give me a break.

weneedhelp (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Um boBby boy… you are incorrect as usual. The artist sells their work to the labels, and in turn they sell it to Walmart, and we buy it from Walmart/iTunes etc,etc.

You dont buy Tastycakes from Flowers Foods, you buy it from Acme, Giant, etc. In turn Acme sells it for slightly more than they buy it for and then buys more from Flowers Foods. The only difference is the labels take all the money as no artist ever recoups.

“jump from label to label” – You dont pay too much attention to what goes on in the real world; Do you? (Rhetorical no need to answer.)

Yes, because it is just so easy to jump willy nilly from label to label. /s

Will the real boB please come back. What did he get fired from his shill position and now they hired this minimum wage lackey to replace him?

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Considering the vast majority of the purchase price of a CD/song goes to the label, not the musician, then yes, people do ‘buy music from a label’. The musicians make the music, the one actually doing the selling is the label, and to pretend otherwise is just ridiculous.

As for your second comment, people, myself included, do indeed do that very thing. A company lives or dies on their profits, so if someone really doesn’t like a company, then the most effective way to demonstrate it is to refuse to buy anything from them.

Gotta love the fact that you chose Sony of all companies for your example too, given how much so many people hate them for all the crap they’ve pulled.

DannyB (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Your talk about whether one buys music from a label or an artist is an irrelevant distraction.

If someone doesn’t like the actions of a label, they can indeed boycott a label. It is done exactly as you describe. “I wanted to buy that song until I found out it was from Label-X.”


Because it is the label that is doing the insane things to ruin people’s lives based on mere accusation. It is the label that deserves the scorn.

If labels are boycotted, it will further provide incentive to future artists to avoid those or perhaps all labels.

But even your talk of boycotting a label is irrelevant.

The grandparent post was about politicians waking up to the abuses of the labels and taking some corrective action to end the insanity. I can see why that has you trying to throw out a lot of red herrings to distract from the real topic.

anonymouse says:

Re: Re: Re:

I think you answer your own question, yes people will boycott an artist if they release an album through Sony, for the very reason that Sony have inflicted harm on their customers before and nobody wants to get burnt twice.Now i am not saying everyone will, that is just stupid but there are i suspect many people who will not buy Sony products, because of the companies actions in harming there loyal customers in an attempt to stop piracy.

Milton Freewater says:

Re: Re: Re:

“The label is just a publishing arm and all of the fans follow the artists who jump from label to label. “

Well gosh Bob, that was true until 10 years ago, when the labels insisted we recognize we’re buying from them, not the artists. The labels asserted that they were the ones who owned the music and set the rules.

When you exhort people to obey rightsholders’ wishes re: files-haring, you’re not talking about artists’ wishes. The rightsholders are the labels. The RIAA is a trade group for labels.

Now that I have been politely asked to pay attention to who really owns what, I absolutely boycott RIAA members and movies released by Voltage Pictures, among others.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

So, we can add basic business logic to the long list of “things bob doesn’t understand”.

Unless you buy your Coca Cola directly from the factory instead of involving any retailer or distribution mechanism (and do this for everything you consume), in which case I admire your dedication (and the huge inconvenience you cause yourself unnecessarily). Most people just buy from Wal Mart, not Coca Cola…

bob (profile) says:

Uh, punishment is designed to hurt

Of course it’s going to be much more than the cost of playing by the rules. That’s why we have rules.

I bet you think that a rapist who gets caught should just be able to get out of it by taking the girl out for dinner. You probably think that a bank robber who gets caught can just give back all of the money and call it even.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Uh, punishment is designed to hurt

“You would never punish someone ACCUSED of murder “

Apparently this is exactly what some would like to do.

Court proceedings are just too lengthy and expensive so let’s get some rope and start lynching people. This is the way it was done in the good old days, so get out of town by sundown if you don’t like it. /s

weneedhelp (profile) says:

Re: Uh, punishment is designed to hurt

boB (if thats you) Nice try associating rape and murder to file sharing.

How about a 2700 dollar fine for jaywalking? Or running a red light? 1500 for a late charge at the library. Or how about cutting off someones hand for stealing food? Or cutting out someones tongue for trollish behavior on the internet… well I might support that one as punishment for you. LOL.

Get this boBby boy, the punishment should… R U ready? It should fit the crime. What you lobby for is as asinine as your comments.

Lord Binky says:

Re: Uh, punishment is designed to hurt

The primary purpose of punishment is meant to correct a behavior. It is not about getting even, feeling warm and fuzzy that the universe is now balanced, or whatever ‘feels’ right.

If a rapist would be stopped from performing those actions ever again by taking the victim to dinner, while 5 years imprisonment caused them to harbor more hatred for their victim and the desire to repeat their offense, are you suggesting you would still send them to prison?

Chargone says:

Re: Re: Uh, punishment is designed to hurt

Tribunal is an odd sort of half-way, first stop court like thing. From memory it’s results can be appealed and that goes to court properly. Tribunals are, useually, quicker, cheaper, and less adversarial. In theory. (Less ‘who’s right’ and more ‘what happened/happenes next)

Anonymous Coward says:

Well here’s a news flash for you bob.

It is precisely because of the insanity and outrageous claims and laws that come out of congress that I have refused… let me say that again as it’s my choice…REFUSED…to buy any music that might vaguely by going to the major labels. I don’t care what artist it is.

Major labels have and are attempting to ruin the internet. I refuse to see any money I have going to them.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

That right there is actually one of the more significant bits of evidence that those pushing for such insane laws and fines and punishments don’t actually consider downloading a song/movie to be the same as theft.

If they did, then either the fines for such downloads would be in the low to mid range digits, or the penalties for stealing, actually stealing something like a CD or DVD would be raised to the astronomical amounts they demand for downloading. That neither has happened rather strongly suggests that their outrage is not in fact due to considering such actions ‘stealing’, but something else entirely.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re:

It’s not a trial, it’s a tribunal hearing and as such is only quasi-judicial. It’s designed in theory to be non-adversarial, not stacked with legalese and where the average person (normally the respondent/defendant) can be heard on the same level as powerful corporations/authorities.

Notice I typed “designed in theory”… Practice is a lot different especially when such things like the Rules of Evidence as required in civil and criminal trials (Real judicial courts with real trier of facts) does not have to apply. In fact Hearsay is normally rampant and allowed.

slackr (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Given the whole screw up with Dotcom, I’ve been mildly pleased that the NZ court system didn’t just bend over and take it from the US like some of the other NZ government agencies did. Shock horror they actually did a decent job of asking whether these things were wait for it…legal. While definitely not perfect it does give me some hope that this will be treated with that same sensibility and not just an automatic home run for the RIANZ.

Anonymous Coward says:

Once in a time long forgotten the US had this thing called probation.

Now before federal probation there was state probation.
Of course, state laws were not equal.

Years after federal probation faded into distant memory Mississippi still had its state version.

While in college in the 60s I am reading the local news rag.

It seem that as things go Mississippi had simply forgot that there was state probation and had opened state stores selling drinking alcohol.

Now according to then state law it was illegal for an individual to possess alcohol for the purpose of consumption but legal for the state to sell it to you.

Well as things go the governor gave a typical shindig with the normal assortment of liberation.

The local prosecutor being a strange sort and a little fed up with the whole thing raided the party and haled the lot off to the county jail.

Facing a few years forced vacation in a place the sun don’t shine an immediate emergency session of the state legislature was called there in the jail where state probation was revoked retroactively.

Sounds like a good methoid of handeling the curent situation to me.

Anonymous Coward says:

‘stop attacking your fans and try to figure out how to better serve them.’

the trouble is, the entertainment industries aren’t interested in doing that. it would make them appear to have some sort of compassion, some caring towards the people that, if they were to say (as i think they should!) ‘FUCK YOU, YOU LOAD OF INDUSTRY ARSE HOLES’, and stop buying their stuff, the industries would be in deep shit, unlike as things are atm, just saying they are

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

You’re a joke if you think three-strikes are an effective way of getting anything enforced.

Unless you think that spending millions of dollars on an initiative that spent three years to nab one person who wasn’t even the culprit, which the government is considering axing funding to, is your epitome of effective.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Please show what law is being enforced with full citations and links to current legislation and statute, along with the Readings of the same in Parliament, as well as any history of similar cases and their outcomes or any other precedents that pertain to this particular “law” and it’s enforcement.

Remember to read the last word, in context, of the above request before spewing forth any links or other outbursts.

DannyB (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Hate enforcement? Actually, I would prefer that copyright enforcement were 100% effective.

If that were the case, things would change rather rapidly.

* prices would become reasonable
* content would be available on all devices
* immediately
* fair use would be observed without hassle
Or alternately:
* people would stop buying from the unreasonable
* people would buy from the reasonable
* artists would recognize their best interest is to only sign with the reasonable

Or I’ll tell it a different way. The dinosaurs and the mammals. The mammal copyright owners would be successful, even though they are small and rather vulnerable compared to the gigantic and powerful dinosaurs. 100% effective copyright enforcement would be the tarpit that brings about change.

qyiet (profile) says:

Re: It's a conspiracy

Actually that works. The ‘skynet’ law (as written) was obsessed with defining the account holder of the public IP address as liable for any infringement. If you run across a private IP network till you are outside of NZ: No legal problem. Also if you download the same data from a web server, or any system that doesn’t use a peer to peer network protocol.. no issue.

TLDR: Stupid law is stupid.

Ninja (profile) says:

I’m eager to see this trial. If said person had balls of steel to move forward to the courts it might either 1- be a strong chance of winning or 2- the person must be really tech savvy. Or worse, BOTH.

My only concern here is that the MAFIAA will try to buy everybody to get this person convicted at all costs. Where have we seen that before?

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Not a trial and only a quasi-judicial hearing (see my above comment on what it actually is). You also won’t likely see any documentation or other legal papers from it (even though it is a public hearing) and you will only really hear anything about it if the RIANZ win and they can then talk about the respondent and name them, though NZ defamation laws could become highly problematic for the RIANZ then.

The reason for this is there are NO lawyers involved in the proceedings, on either side, unless they have been given leave by the Tribunal to appear and that will only occur in specific circumstances. Otherwise it’s just the Tribunal member(s) who are the triers of facts, and the two opposing parties in their in propria persona (pro se) appearance or in the case of a corporation their legal representative who cannot be a lawyer (though the distinction is blurry between a practising solicitor and a holder of a law degree)

If the RIANZ lose at the hearing the respondents name (the user) is kept hidden from all (under seal) unless the user themselves wants to talk about it… Though any legal advisor would most likely strongly advise against that.

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