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September 20, 2015 | by  | in News |
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Industry complains that complaints are too expensive

Students free to keep stealing music

Illegal downloaders are escaping punishment as New Zealand record companies protest that the complaints process is too expensive.

Only one complaint has been laid with and upheld by the Copyright Tribunal this year, compared with four in 2014, and 18 in 2013.

To prosecute for illegal downloading, rights holders have to identify an illegal downloader and file a notice with their Internet Service Provider (ISP), who then notifies the account holder at $25 per notice.

Three notices are required within a 12-month period before a complaint can be laid with the tribunal, and the rights holder then pays $200 to formally lodge their complaint.

Tech Liberty spokesman Thomas Beagle said the industry had almost given up on filing complaints because of the costs. “My understanding is that the Copyright Tribunal process is too expensive and a lot of people are switching to streaming services,” he said.

“While $25 seems like a low cost, it turns out to be quite expensive considering they are losing so much money to piracy.”

Record Music NZ general counsel Kristin Bowman said the complaint process is too costly to be effective in stopping piracy.

“Every time we send a notice it costs us $25. We would love to do 1000 of those a week, but we just can’t afford it.

“We definitely won’t give up though, because we constantly want to get the message out there that piracy is illegal.”

Bowman wanted ISP companies to pay for the bill, or for the Government to subsidise the fees.

InternetNZ chief executive Jordan Carter said the regime is costly because “the Government has correctly insisted upon fair process in these matters, and expected rights holders to meet the costs of enforcement.

“When rights holders allege that they suffer many thousands of dollars in damages for copyright infringement, it seems strange that a $25 charge is too much to prevent that.”

Luckily for struggling artists out there, Spotify offers to pay them $0.006 to $0.0084 per stream.

BandCamp, a site where streams can be monitored and restricted, requires listeners to purchase a track after a set number of plays.

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