The Techday Weekender - Nov 5th 2011

05 Nov 11

After months of dormancy, the first infringement notices were sent under the controversial Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act this week.

The act, nicknamed the Skynet Act, allows rights holders to send notices to ISPs informing them that customers are downloading illegal content. The ISPs must then send infringement notices to those customers asking them to stop. Once three such notices have been sent, the customer can be taken to the Copyright Tribunal, which can impose a fine of up to $15,000.

Rights holders have been sitting on the Act since September 1. However, the move by the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand probably signals the start of more to come. The worry is that many of the customers may have had no idea the illegal activity was taking place, given that most of the notices relate to music popular with teenagers, like Rihanna and Lady Gaga.

The other big New Zealand story was the announcement by UK telco Clear Mobitel that it plans to bid in the 700MHz spectrum auction with a view to becoming New Zealand’s fourth mobile carrier.

The company’s CEO, Harpal Mann, says it will look at establishing a next-generation LTE network if it wins a portion of the spectrum. However, with locals Telecom, Vodafone and 2degrees already scrapping over the so-called ‘digital dividend’, it could be an uphill battle for an overseas firm to grab a piece.

Speaking of next-generation networks, Cisco has hosted a meeting of industry leaders to discuss the possibilities that will come with the government’s Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) project. Many people feel the $1.35 billion project will simply allow us to do what we currently do online a little bit faster, and bosses including the CEOs of Orcon and Xero were keen to put people straight. Indeed, Orcon’s Scott Bartlett went out on a limb and compared UFB to the introduction of electricity in Reefton – the first place in the Southern Hemisphere – in 1888. It seems outrageous, but who can say what hindsight will bring?

Sticking in New Zealand, Apple finally named a release date for the much-hyped iPhone 4S this week, promising to have it in stores by Friday November 11. The long-awaited announcement puts us in the third release wave, along with places like Hong Kong, South Korea, Poland, Greece and Guatemala, and comes as users overseas grapple with a battery life issue, as well as problems with voice activation feature Siri.

Oh, and if you want to get an iPhone or iPad but are afraid your kids will smash it, a kiwi toy distributor has a solution for you. The LeapPad is a tablet for kids, featuring a durable 5-inch screen, 2GB of memory, and a host of apps to download - and it’s arriving just in time for Christmas.

Have a great weekend!

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