While piracy remains a significant issue in New Zealand, the recording industry is saying that the country's laws make copyrights too expensive to enforce. According to a report by Fairfax Digital's Stuff.nz, only one complaint has been successfully pursued with the country's Copyright Tribunal this year, compared with four last year and 18 in 2013.
I n 2011, New Zealand joined the growing number of nations around the world with the implementation of a 'three strikes' system. In the regime, a film studio or record label has to identify an illegal downloader and file a notice with that individual's ISP, which then sends a warning to the account holder.
Three such notices filed against a user within a 12 month period then allow the copyright holder to bring a complaint before the tribunal. Each warning costs the copyright owner $25 dollars, while the complaint to the tribunal costs $200.
Thomas Beagle, a spokesman for digital civil liberties group Tech Liberty told Stuff that rights holders have essentially given up on purusing violators.
"My understanding is that the Copyright Tribunal process is too expensive and a lot of people are switching to streaming services," he told Stuff. "It's about $25 a notice and you have to send a whole bunch of them and even then you don't know if it's getting to the right person."
Record Music NZ general counsel Kristin Bowman echoed this sentiment, telling Stuff that the industry is still losing "millions of dollars" every year to piracy. "We haven't got rid of it [piracy] as the regime, unfortunately, is too costly," Bowman said. "It's really disappointing."