The New Zealand Society of Authors (PEN NZ Inc.) is disappointed by the recent announcement from the Commerce Minister Simon Power that internet service providers will be able to charge rights holders up to $25 for processing an allegation of copyright infringement and we are concerned that there continues to be no mention or consideration of the costs to rights holders to legitimately and legally protect their rights.
The Cabinet called for submissions on the Regulations underpinning the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act 2011 which comes into effect on 1 September. This paper stated that the range of notice fee estimates calculated by the MED based on estimates given by the IPAPs would be between $2 and $28 per notice. We believe that the range of estimates provided by IPAPs shows inconsistencies within systems and exposes the possibility of some IPAPs using this as a money-making exercise. We understand that the biggest infringers are the IPAPs biggest customers and there could be a tendency for IPAPs to try and make up losses incurred as a result of pursuing the legislation.
The Society made it clear in its submission that we do not support IPAP costs being imposed on rights holders who are already disadvantaged by the infringement. The cost of providing information requirements for identification of an infringement is already prohibitive to many rights holders. IPAPs systems used for billing, data downloading and monitoring could, we believe, be easily modified for the issuing of notices and it is inappropriate for our creators to continue to be penalised in this way.
We are doubly concerned that a recent statement from the Labour Party endorses higher fees being imposed on rights holders. We call for consideration and support for our creators.
The Society does not support termination of Internet access as an ultimate penalty for repeat infringers. But we do support a system that ensures our rights holders continue to be adequately and lawfully rewarded for the use of their work.