New Zealand Brings Back Three Strikes... With Some Oversight

from the well,-it's-a-step dept

Last year, you may recall that New Zealand tried to sneak through a "three strikes" type law that relied solely on accusations and would kick people off the internet. After first resisting, the government realized that public outrage over the plan was too strong and scrapped the plan, but admitted it was planning to try again, though with a bit more oversight.

It looks like that's exactly what's happened. The New Zealand government has released its new three strikes plan that is a bit more sane. You can still get kicked off the internet, which is troubling, but it's a much more involved process. The system involves a notice-and-notice offering, whereby copyright holders notify an ISP, who notifies the user. After three notices, you don't face disconnection, but a government tribunal, who can fine the user monetarily, but only to recover "damages," not for punitive reasons. Finally, if there are still more signs of infringement, the rights holder can take the user to court, which can lead to much larger fines and the possibility of losing an internet connection for six months. Throughout the process, the user will be able to appeal.

This is certainly a lot more reasonable than the original plan, but I still find any plan that involves kicking people off the internet entirely for their actions to be draconian and impossible to enforce reasonably. These days, your mobile phone or even a desk phone may use the internet, and many people require internet access for their jobs. It seems ridiculous to kick people off entirely.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2009 @ 5:44am

    Not the same at all. Techdirt's philosophical debate is "is the internet guilty", not "is it a crime". Stealing in the offline world has nothing to do with sharing in the online world, for reasons already explained over and over and over and over again.

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