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First school receives an infringement notice – report

UPDATED:  A report on Twitter says a New Zealand school has received its first infringement notices.

'Jez Brown' tweeted today that a New Zealand school had received its first infringement notice, but said he could not give more details as it was information given in confidence.

Netsafe chief technology officer Sean Lyons said he had not been made aware of any schools receiving infringement notices.

“You’re the first person that’s ever mentioned the phrases ‘infringement notice' and ‘school’ in the same sentence since we first started talking about it.”

Netsafe reached an agreement with Recording Institute Association of New Zealand (RIANZ) to act as intermediary between schools and the rights holder group, he said.

If a school received an infringement notice, Mr Lyons said, Netsafe would contact RIANZ on the school’s behalf without revealing its identity, assure the organisation it was a school and had no desire to breach copyrights, and then work alongside the school to help it look at how to take action to remedy the situation.

“In return for that RIANZ were happy to suspend the notice period for a further eight weeks as long as the school then to our satisfaction had done all that it could, then RIANZ would call it a day on the notification at that point.”

The Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act was passed under urgency in April and came into force in September. 

The Act follows a’ three strikes’ process where account holders can receive three notices of alleged infringement before rights holders can take them to the Copyright Tribunal, where the maximum penalty is $15,000.

For the full break down check out NBR's coverage here.

ISPs respond
Orcon spokesman Quentin Reade said the telco had not sent any infringement notices to schools. 

TelstraClear spokesman Gary Bowering said it was the company’s policy not to provide details on matters pertaining to individual customers or the business of rights holders.

Vodafone spokesman Matt East said the company was not commenting on the number of notices or where these were sent.

Telecom spokeswoman Anna Skerten said in the interests of customer privacy the company would rather not comment on whether notices were sent to a specific customer group.

The New Zealand Federation Against Copyright Theft executive director Tony Eaton said NBR’s questions should be directed to the Recording Institute Association of New Zealand (RIANZ). 

RIANZ would not comment.


Account holders unknown to rights groups

Lowndes Jordan partner Rick Shera, who is chairman of Netsafe but was not involved in putting the arrangement with RIANZ into place, said rights owners did not know who account holders were when sending the infringement notices, since they only had an IP address.  This meant that RIANZ would not know an account holder was a school until after they had paid $200 to go to the Copyright Tribunal.

"RIANZ won't know it's a school until they're given a copy of the "third strike" enforcement notice by the ISP and even then the copy notice has had account holder ID info stripped from it.  So, the first time they'd find out who the alleged infringer is is after they pay $200 to go to Tribunal."

He said RIANZ did not want to be suing schools at the Tribunal and schools did not want to be in that position.

"So this is a pragmatic solution (putting to one side whether one agrees or not with this law itself)."

More by Alex Walls

Comments and questions

If its on Twit (ter) then it must be true!

As predicted, 'public' places like schools, libraries, community WiFi services are all at risk. I guess the next step will be when one of these places gets taken to court and has no idea as to who the 'criminal' was.

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