Copyright law changes before Parliament
A bill repealing Section 92A of the Copyright Act is beingintroduced into Parliament today by Commerce Minister Simon Power. TheCopyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill repeals Section 92A andreplaces it with a three-notice regime which is intended to deter illegal filesharing.
"This amendmentputs in place a fair and balanced process to deal with online copyrightinfringements occurring via file sharing," Power said. “The major featureis the three-notice process, which educates the public about illegal filesharing and provides effective methods for copyright owners to enforce theircopyright. It ensures that file sharers are given adequate warnings thatunauthorised sharing of copyright works is illegal.”
The bill also extendsthe jurisdiction of the Copyright Tribunal, enabling it to hear complaints andaward penalties of up to $15,000 based on the amount of damage sustained by thecopyright owner. Power says the bill will also enable copyright owners to seekthe suspension of internet accounts through the District Court for up to sixmonths.
“It's important thataccount holders are given a reasonable time to stop infringing beforeenforcement takes place,” Power said. “The bill prescribes timeframes soaccount holders have the opportunity to address illegal file sharing activityoccurring on their internet connection before enforcement action is taken. Theywill also have the chance to challenge notices and may request hearings at theCopyright Tribunal to contest infringement claims.
“Regulations willoutline the awards the tribunal may make and they'll be drafted later this yearwhen the bill has been enacted. Online copyright infringement is a problem foreveryone, but especially for the creative industry, which has experiencedsignificant declines in revenue as file sharing has become more prevalent. Thisbill is the result of extensive consultation with stakeholders and is animportant step in addressing a complex issue.”