3 May 2011

ISPs could face increased workload

6:26 pm on 3 May 2011

Changes to copyright law look set to significantly increase the workload of internet service providers.

The Economic Development Ministry is consulting the internet sector over how much rights holders might pay ISPs to warn customers illegally downloading or file-sharing.

A discussion document issued by the ministry suggests a 'three strikes regime' taking effect from September this year to curb illegal internet file-sharing could generate hundreds of thousands of infringement notices.

It outlines what the holders of rights could possibly pay ISPs to send warning notices on their behalf - suggesting this figure could be between $2 and $28.

The ministry then asks ISPs to base submissions on an estimated 5000 notices a month.

Internet New Zealand says while that is a bit of a wild guess, the number of notices will be the major cost driver.

Chief executive Vikram Kumar says once it is decided what rights holders will pay, the rates should be reviewed to judge if it is the correct amount.

Mr Kumar says what is concerning is the lack of knowledge the public has about what is copyright material and how they will be affected from September.

Technology commentator David Farrar says the cost of issuing a notice will have a bearing on how many infringement notices get sent.

However, Mr Farrar says if the cost is too high, it is likely it will be too expensive for rights holders to make complaints to ISPs.

After a person has been warned three times for illegal file-sharing activity they can be taken to the Copyright Tribunal, where they could be fined up to $15,000.

The discussion document also discusses how the tribunal should operate.