On 1 September 2011, the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act came into effect. This prohibits file sharing of copyrighted content online. We think it’s important for our customers to understand this legislation and what it means for them.
File sharing is the common name for sharing electronic files. For example, to or from another computer over the internet. In New Zealand, the Copyright Act 1994 protects owners and producers of content. Copyright protects original works - whether in hard copy or electronic form - across literature, music, film, art, computer programs and communications.
The Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act 2011 allows the owners of copyright works (Rights Owners) to enforce their rights against people who use file sharing applications or networks to illegally make available or download copyright works (content) via the internet.
The law applies to:
Downloading and uploading of copyright works (such as movies, songs, and software) illegally
Peer-to-peer sharing* of copyright works using a file sharing application (including storing copyright works in a shared folder accessible by a peer-to-peer program)
Posting copyright works on websites, and enabling others to download them
What it means for you
If you share a copyright work illegally, the owners of that work may take legal action against you, and you may be fined or made to pay damages. Right now, the infringing file sharing provisions only apply to fixed line internet. However from late 2013, they will apply to mobile broadband and mobile phones too.
What it means for us
As a provider of fixed line internet, we have to send notifications to the account holder when a Rights Owner informs us of an alleged infringement of copyright.
Remember that if you are the account holder, you are responsible for any copyright infringement via your internet account, regardless of who actually downloaded the material.
How to stop it happening on your account
Make sure your Wi-Fi connection is secure by setting it up with a strong password
If your children or friends use your computer, make sure they talk to you before they download anything – to make sure it’s legal
You Tube, streaming movies and music
You can still watch content via YouTube. Streaming music or a movie direct from a website may be impacted by the law, depending on the website. Websites may host legitimate content agreed by Rights Owners and charge either a one off fee per download or a subscription fee.
As a rule of thumb, if it’s commercially produced content, not just there for promotional or marketing purposes, and you’re not paying for it, then downloading or sharing it is likely to be prohibited by copyright law.