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Internet disconnection penalties 'must go'
Fri, 6th Aug 2010
FYI, this story is more than a year old

In a presentation made to Parliament's Commerce Select Committee on the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill, InternetNZ has called for disconnection to be removed as a penalty.

Policy Director Jordan Carter said, “A disconnection penalty is a response way out of line with the harm caused by infringing file sharing. People are using the internet for a huge range of important economic and social tasks. Cutting off their accounts is akin to banning someone from using the postal system because they were caught posting copied music CDs.

"Nobody would think that was fair,” he continued. “As a matter of good law, penalties for a wrong should be proportionate. The rest of the Bill, with notices and financial penalties, is reasonable. Account disconnection is not.”

Carter argues that disconnection is ineffective because people generally have internet access from a range of accounts. They also would easily be able to sign up with another ISP with no penalty.

"Disconnection is both wrong in principle, and likely to be ineffective. These two factors together indicate it should be removed as a penalty. Doing so would allow the role of the District Court to be removed from the legislation, leaving it to focus on serious crime and saving the taxpayer money,” he added.