3 Nov 2010

Minister able to cut internet access under law change

7:52 pm on 3 November 2010

Ministerial approval will be required to cut off internet access for people making illegal downloads under proposed changes to the copyright law.

The bill replaces Section 92A of the Copyright Act aimed at combating internet piracy, which was dropped last year after it was criticised as draconian.

The original law caused an outcry after internet user groups pointed out that websites could be shut down following any accusation of copyright breach, even if it was not proven.

In its next incarnation, the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill would have introduced a three-strikes policy, after which internet service providers could apply to the District Court to have a user's internet connection cut.

Under the latest changes agreed by MPs, only the Commerce Minister can order that internet access be terminated.

The Labour Party says that places the onus on service providers to have to make a case to the minister before any action can be taken.

Internet New Zealand and the Open Source Society say they fear the law will still be open to abuse by the entertainment industry.