back to article New Zealand court hands out second peppercorn downloading penalty

New Zealand’s Copyright Tribunal has handed down its second decision under that country’s controversial “SkyNet” anti-downloading legislation. Once again, the tribunal has imposed a fine considerably less than that sought by the country’s music industry lobby, RIANZ (the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand). Asked to …

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Yes because owning a gun is proof that you are going to attempt an armed robbery.

Idiots from RIANZ need to get a clue.

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PT

Every computer user in New Zealand should install a Bit Torrent client, whether they intend to use it or not. Call it a gesture of solidarity.

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Meh

Let me get this straight

It costs the New Zealand tax payer $12 for every $1 they actually collect?

If this is a business model that they work on, how long before the country goes bust?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Let me get this straight

We are already going bust with the roads of significance to the National party. Ah well the ignorance of the treasury benches passing their "skynet" law along with being in the palms of the FBI with the Dotcom farce is one fail after the other it seems

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I first heard about BitTorrent from debian.org - it's the preferred method of distribution for their ISO images since ages

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Re: Let me get this straight

Wait, why does this cost the New Zealand Tax Payer anything? RIANZ is a private concern, right? So I say let them go for it... The more money they lose, the quicker they'll go bankrupt and leave us all the hell alone!

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Anonymous Coward

old movies and songs

morons with horses' glasses.

bittorrent is often the only way to get old movies and songs that are not being published anymore (read with copyright expired).

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FAIL

Re: old movies and songs

@ loan - "bittorrent is often the only way to get old movies and songs that are not being published anymore (read with copyright expired)."

A very lame excuse indeed. Yes, you are technically correct. Yes, there are film aficionados who like old movies. But somehow I can't see the courts accepting it as the defence for 25,000. BitTorrent has legitimate uses that are much simpler to prove.

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FAIL

Exactly. Or at a mundane level, by their logic you could say that purchasing a car is proof that you intend to use it as a getaway vehicle. If this is the quality of RIANZ's legal argument, they need to get themselves a new legal team and fast, as even the most inexperienced of barristers should be able to tear that one apart.

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Rob
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Go

You are all doing it

You are all using the internet and you are all talking about Bittorrent, so that must mean you are all looking at porn and doing illegal downloads.

Make it easy and hand yourselves in. And don't even think about cursing the law or we'll arrest you for thought crimes as well.

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Pirate

Bittorrent clients == intended piracy

Yar. I keep catching my parrot downloading various Linux distros, not to mention 32 & 64bit Win ISOs and service packs for repairing client PCs.

I keelhauled the scurvy dog, natch.

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Pirate

Re: Let me get this straight

As a general principle, it is not unknown for tax departments in various countries to find such a ratio acceptable. It seems stupid until you factor in assumptions about the deterrent effects of enforcement, and a calculation done on this basis may show it to be logical form of expenditure. I’m not defending such a tactic of course, and this story doesn’t relate to general taxation in any case. But they may have decided that deterrence is the best policy.

I am incidentally using an installation of Ubuntu that came with a bittorrent client pre-installed, so I’m automatically a suspect… Having said that, I have used it for legitimate purposes – and that does literally include downloading Linux disk images!

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Re: Let me get this straight

It costs the tax payer because (afaik) the fees charged do not cover 100% of the cost of administering the tribunal, which are otherwise born by the tax payer.

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GIven the average attitude to "authority" like RIANZ, that's exactly what a lot of people will do.

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FAIL

interesting position..

The RIANZ should try and take Bittorrent to court instead given their position, and see how far they'd get with that one.

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FAIL

Um

"installing a BitTorrent client is proof that an individual is sharing files illegally"

Gee, lets look at what I have torrented recently:

- Linux ISOs (my main, if occasional, use).

- 'Pioneer One' web drama (http://www.pioneerone.tv/)

Gee. Lots of illegal torrenting going on there! Better lock me up for installing a BT client!

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FAIL

Re: Um

Sounds funny to me too, BitTorrent is a choice for lots of legal stuff. Like shutting down the internet because it's used, no doubt. for illegal stuff too. I have started to feel that RIANZ and similar surpass even communism in stupidity.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Um

I'll go one step further. I've actually set up a mirror site that hosts (and seeds) torrents for various Ubuntu and Android install images. For little guys like me that want to make a contribution but can't afford to set up complete mirrors (due to limited monthly quotas and relatively constrained transfer rates), there's nothing better than bittorrent.

Anon ... just in case

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WTF?

"RIANZ has also told NZ Radio it believes installing a BitTorrent client is proof that an individual is sharing files illegally."

Much like living in New Zealand is proof that you have intimate relations with farm animals.

What we need now is for the likes of Redhat and Canonical to sue RIANZ. I don't know the legal mumbo-jumbo required, but surely they can pillory RIANZ over the statement.

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Much like living in New Zealand is proof that you have intimate relations with farm animals.

Or not. Apparently, Australia has more sheep per capita than New Zealand.

But it's worse than that, it seems Western Australia alone holds the title.

<http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/are-west-australians-the-new-kiwis-20100128-n0nj.html>

So no more velcro jokes for you New Zealanders.

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Yes I had the same thoughts too - wonder if the legal depts at Canonical like having their users slated as criminals

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Coat

A Kiwi and an Aussie pass each other on the road. The Aussie has a sheep under his arm.

Kiwi: "Are you shearing that sheep, mate?"

Aussie: "Nah, I'm keeping it for myself."

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Mushroom

"What we need now is for the likes of Redhat and Canonical to sue RIANZ. I don't know the legal mumbo-jumbo required, but surely they can pillory RIANZ over the statement."

Now that it's been published in the UK, that also makes it libel against UK BitTorrent users (who only use legitimately of course!)

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If you are a kiwi...

Please send an email to Amy Adams outlining the legitimate uses of bittorrent.

http://www.amyadams.co.nz/index.php?/pages/contact.html

Although politicians are generally considered scum, Amy is a reasonable person who I consider fortunate to have as my local MP.

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Re: If you are a kiwi...

I just sent this:

"The RIANZ have recently claimed that mere possession of a Bittorrent client is evidence of copyright infringement.

I shall merely note that I use Bittorrent to download Linux updates, and although I'm not a gamer the program World of Warcraft uses Bittorrent to download updates for the game. The RIANZ argument is rather like saying that owning a modern car is evidence of speeding.

Is there likely to be any forum where you can challenge this bunkum?"

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Facepalm

Re: If you are a kiwi...

The RIANZ have recently claimed that mere possession of a Bittorrent client is evidence of copyright infringement.

This sounds to me like the RIANZ is accusing many respectable people of being criminals. Sure there must be grounds to sue, this is a serious accusation. Perhaps every person in NZ with a legitimate use for BT SW should sue the RIANZ for slander.

Finding themselves on the receiving end of vast number of legal cases might keep their lawyers a bit busy.

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Re: If you are a kiwi...

I think the RIANZ person was probably very careful in the wording they used so as to give him/herself a loophole against slander.

Just having a BT client would not get you convicted, but if RIANZ had their way it could be used as sufficient evidence to treat you as suspicions and have a search warrant issued.

A parallel might be how NYPD treats a woman carrying condoms as evidence of prostitution - not enough to get a conviction, but enough to support deeper suspicion.

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Pirate

Coldplay and Kesha?

There should have been an additional $10,000 fine on grounds of taste.

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Alert

Re: Coldplay and Kesha?

Nah, listening to them is penalty enough!

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Film Studio Cheapskates

What is also interesting is that not one single notice has been issued by the film bodies because they refuse to pay the NZ$25 (US$20/£13) per time processing fee.

Perhaps that shows more clearly how much damage the film/TV industry *really* thinks that torrenting is doing in NZ?

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Happy

Re: Film Studio Cheapskates

So let me get this straight. Leaving aside the lawyers and court costs, the RIANZ pays a NZ$25 fee to recover NZ$7.17 for the song?

Is the NZ$25 per song - did they actually recover NZ$14.34 for their NZ$25?

Brilliant!

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

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Devil

$7.17 to pay for the actual songs

Now THAT'S criminal!

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"installing a BitTorrent client is proof that an individual is sharing files illegally"

When these guys say things like that it makes we want to go and start sharing my entire frickin music collection.

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Devil

Perhap Anonymous could put a message up on their website about the legal uses of a BT client...

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IT Angle

With logic like this, this could be really successful

I have a 40Mb fibre optic line at home. What on earth do I need such a large amount of bandwidth for?

"It must be piracy".

I have a tower PC with two 1Tb hard drives. What on earth do I need such a large amount of space for?

"It must be piracy".

I have BitTorrent installed on my computer. Why on earth would I need such a program?

"It must be piracy".

I have a computer. Why on earth would I have such a device?

"Release the lawyers!"

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Anonymous Coward

Re: With logic like this, this could be really successful

Good questions though, mate. Care to share the real answers?

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Bloody slow download!

TWO SONGS?

So either their download speeds are appalling, or the 'three strikes' emails can be sent 10ms apart, and have no legal requirement for a read receipt? "My anti-spam blocked the email, m'lud"

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Facepalm

So how do they view the use of a browser with a torrent client built in - Opera (for Windows) springs to mind?

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Where is RIANZ getting their info?

The ISP has changed from a company (often public) that services paying customers telecommunications needs to being big brothers eyes and ears.

Reforming telecommunications to be truly independent and respectful of the privacy of individuals would be the greater justice here.

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Anonymous Coward

I haven't used bittorrent for ages

Last three times were for the movie "Decay" from a group at CERN, a pre-paid alpha release of a game called "Overgrowth", and a copy of Ubuntu to run in a virtual machine. All legal. This story has prompted me to fire it up and see what else is out there.

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If you're in NZ and really want to rub their noses in it, install BitTorrent, grab this, :D

The Pirate Bay - Away From Keyboard and seed like mad!

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RIANZ has also told NZ Radio it believes installing a BitTorrent client is proof that an individual is sharing files illegally.

There was me thinking that BitTorrent also had legal applications as well. Oh well silly me.

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Paris Hilton

RAINZ considers protecting life worth less than protecting copyright?

To my knowledge (Google) an NZ speeding find is roughly $300. Now, these BT fines are very low compared to what RAINZ is asking but they're still higher than being caught speeding.

Setting aside the arguments for and against speeding as a cause of accidents. If we are to take the government on principal that speeding kills and therefore a speeding fine is a financial disincentive to prevent deaths through car accidents - what does that say about the level of fine for merely downloading or sharing a song? Filesharing is a more serious (dangerous) offense than dangerous driving in NZ?

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Joke

Solidarity

"Every computer user in New Zealand should install a Bit Torrent client, whether they intend to use it or not. Call it a gesture of solidarity."

"I'm Spartacus!"

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Pirate

Our taste in music is better than this

It is, it really is.

Ah wait, who am I kidding . . .

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On a point of accuracy...

The law in NZ makes file sharing illegal, not downloading. When you download a file you are obtaining it from someone who is sharing - *they* are the ones breaking the law, not the downloader.

BitTorrent could be construed as indicative of an intent to share since it incorporates file sharing as a feature. If you were using a torrent client that had no seeding/sharing capabilities and could ONLY be used to download then there would be no such prima face "evidence".

Please note, I am NOT supporting the RIANZ, just explaining their logic in the context of the actual law (which is reported as "file downloading laws" when it is not).

The law is still stupid of course. It's like saying "Robbing a bank is OK, as long as you don't then go around giving the money away to other people."

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Facepalm

Re: On a point of accuracy...

Torrenting is peer to peer. Otherwise it's an ftp or http call.

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Re: On a point of accuracy...

I think you will find that it is not OK to download material that you know to be illegally shared and might be considered along the lines of receiving stolen goods and covered by other laws.

To extend your robber analogy: If a bank robber steals from a bank and throws the money into the street and you pick some up, you can't keep that.

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