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Select Committee releases revisions to the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill

The purpose of this newsletter is to help determine what this might mean for you and your business, and to highlight particular parts we consider to be most important.  This newsletter is a continuation of our newsletters on this subject.  Please see our last newsletter for more information and history.


The Select Committee has today released revisions to the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill and has recommended it be passed with the amendments given.

To NATCOM, the following points in the Select Committee’s work are of particular note:

  • Definition of an Internet Service Provider – we consider an improvement.
  • Delay in the introduction of “account suspension” – not ideal, but an improvement nevertheless.
  • Burden of Proof – this is disappointing and we note as a serious concern in the Select Committee’s work.


Definition of Internet Service Provider


For the purpose of the infringing file sharing regime, the change in definition aims to exclude “universities, libraries, and businesses that provide Internet access but are not traditional ISPs”.  The Select Committee has recommended “that the definition in section 122A be replaced with a new term, IPAP, or Internet Protocol Address Provider”.

This would avoid ambiguity and focus on the function of an Internet service provider that is relevant to infringing file sharing, namely the provision of Internet protocol addresses.


Account Suspension


The Select Committee has recommended that account suspension not be introduced for now.  “The majority of us recommend the new section 122PA, which would effect what we believe a workable compromise on this issue. The bill’s provisions allowing for Internet suspension would be retained, with modifications, but would not be brought into effect immediately. If evidence indicated that notices alone (and the remedy through the Copyright Tribunal) were not having the desired deterrent effect, the suspension provisions could be activated by Order in Council”.

The Bill continues to follow the "Notices Regime" that we wrote about in a previous newsletter here >


Burden of Proof


The Select Committee has introduced a new section 122MA. This section reverses the burden of proof in the regime by saying that rights owners’ notices will be considered conclusive evidence of infringement, with alleged infringers having to prove they have not done so.

Also, the Bill still leaves accounts holders entirely responsible for another person's use of their account even where they have no control over them.



The Select Committee has recommended the commencement date of the Bill be changed to 1 July 2011.  This would provide 6 months for the Bill to be implemented once it was enacted.


We will continue to keep you updated with any progress or significant changes to this bill.

Click Here > to see the release from the Select Committee.

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