Revised "Three-Strikes" legislation has reappeared in New Zealand, after a close but failed battle earlier this year. This time around, alleged infringers will only be disconnected after a proper court hearing with the new Copyright Tribunal, and penalties are capped at NZ $15,000. In cases of "serious" infringement, the Tribunal would be able to suspend the user's ISP account for up to 6 months.
In my view, instituting a Copyright Tribunal would be an improvement over the previous NZ proposal, which would have allowed for disconnection without a proper hearing. Moreover, capping the penalties may be a less egregious demand than the statutory damages often demanded in a formal copyright infringement suit. However, I am still not convinced that the disconnection of Internet accounts would be effective, either from a technological or 'deterrential' perspective. Indeed, such disconnection could still be easily circumvented, and thus would serve as merely an illusory deterrent. Nevertheless, the current proposal is one step closer to a possible and plausible 'solution'.
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