Second infringing file sharing case dropped by RIANZ

In October 2012, Baldwins acted for an account holder accused of file sharing under the controversial “three strikes" or "skynet" law. After the account holder filed submissions with the Copyright Tribunal identifying a large number of defects in the claims, RIANZ withdrew the case entirely. It was previously seeking a total of $2,669.25 for the alleged sharing of 5 songs.

Now, RIANZ has dropped a second case brought before the Copyright Tribunal. This time, RIANZ sought a total of $4,675 for the alleged sharing of 11 songs. However, the account holder had not received any of the warning or infringement notices sent by his or her internet protocol address provider (IPAP), Slingshot.

Again, non-compliance with the technicalities of the procedure has resulted in defective claims. RIANZ has issued as many as 18 cases with the Copyright Tribunal. However, it will have to ensure that the technical details of its claims (and the notices issued by IPAPs) are correct if it intends to succeed in any of these. It is also reliant on the IPAPs to issue the notices correctly (for example, to the correct account holders) – an obligation imposed on them under the Copyright Act amendments. It remains to be seen whether legal action could be taken against IPAPs who are not adequately fulfilling their obligations.

The New Zealand music industry remains in an interesting position. It currently offers a wide range of legal sources for music – from pay-per-song downloads on iTunes, to free (ad-sponsored) streaming subscriptions on Spotify and Pandora. Yet, thousands of New Zealanders are still said to be illegally sharing music each month.

Under the infringing file sharing legislation, it is the account holder who may be held liable for any instances of illegal file sharing.

If you are an account holder, have you ensured that your house, flat, or business is adequately protected? Are you sure that your internet connection is not being used by someone who has installed file sharing software on his or her computer?

If you are a copyright owner, are you applying to issue infringement notices? For more information or help with such matters, please contact us.