What is the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act?

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Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act

This Act is a significant change to the Copyright Act 1994. The act comes into force on 1 September 2011. It repeals Section 92A and amends Part 6. View the full Amendment Act on

The new law states that it “provides rights owners with a special regime for taking enforcement action against people who infringe copyright through file sharing”

It is quite specific because it only applies to infringing material which is uploaded or downloaded via file sharing applications or networks.

There are two important things to think about here, one is that the meterial has to be infringing, and the second is that it has to be file shared.

What is infringing?

The wording of the law says “an incidence of file sharing that involves the infringement of copyright in a work by a user”.

Copyright is a set of rights that are given to owners in relation to their creations. It’s an automatic right in New Zealand, which exist as soon as something is created, performed or published.

The copyright owner has the exclusive right to copy, play, share , distribute or adapt that work, or to permit anyone else to do it. If anyone else copies, shares or distributes a copyright protected work, without the permission of the copyright holder, then they are infringing on the owner’s copyright.

There are some exceptions to this, and you can read more about this and copyright in general here.

What is file sharing?

The wording of the law, describes file sharing as:

“(a) material is uploaded via, or downloaded from, the Internet using an application or network that enables the simultaneous sharing of material between multiple users; and
“(b) uploading and downloading may, but need not, occur at the same time”

This amendment is specifically targeting peer-to-peer technologies, which describes networks that allow many people to share a a file over the internet at the same time. Anyone involved in uploading or downloading an infringing file, for example a song, a movie or a book, over this kind of network, is caught under this legislation.

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