Section 92A of the Copyright (New Technologies) Amendment Act 2008: This section deals with the termination of internet accounts for copyright infringement. It states that internet service providers must have a policy for terminating the accounts of repeat infringers and that they must notify their customers of any allegations of infringement. The section has been controversial and was initially scheduled to come into effect in 2009, but was later repealed in 2011 due to public outcry and concerns about due process.
Section 92A of the Copyright (New Technologies) Amendment Act 2008: A Controversial Provision
Section 92A of the Copyright (New Technologies) Amendment Act 2008 was introduced in New Zealand to address the issue of online copyright infringement. It required internet service providers (ISPs) to have a policy for terminating the accounts of repeat infringers and to notify their customers of any allegations of infringement. The section was initially scheduled to come into effect in 2009, but was later repealed in 2011 due to public outcry and concerns about due process.
The Copyright Act 1994, as amended by the Copyright (New Technologies) Amendment Act 2008, is the primary statute governing copyright law in New Zealand. Section 92A was introduced as part of this amendment. The section was controversial because it lacked clarity and due process safeguards.
Application of Laws to Facts:
Section 92A was criticized for its lack of clarity and due process safeguards. The provision did not provide clear guidelines for ISPs to determine whether a customer was a repeat infringer or what constituted an infringement. Moreover, ISPs were required to terminate the accounts of alleged infringers without any judicial oversight or opportunity for appeal. This raised concerns about the potential for abuse and wrongful termination of accounts.
Key Legal Issues or Questions:
The key legal issues that arose in relation to Section 92A were whether the provision violated due process rights and whether it provided sufficient safeguards against wrongful termination of accounts.
If Section 92A had been adjudicated, it is likely that it would have been found to be unconstitutional due to its lack of clarity and due process safeguards. The provision was ultimately repealed due to public outcry and concerns about its potential impact on freedom of expression and access to information.
Alternatives or Different Interpretations:
An alternative approach to addressing online copyright infringement could be the implementation of a notice-and-takedown system, where copyright owners notify ISPs of infringing content and the ISP takes down the content if it is found to be infringing. This approach provides a clearer process for addressing copyright infringement while also providing due process safeguards for alleged infringers.
Risks and Uncertainties:
The main legal risk associated with Section 92A was the potential for wrongful termination of accounts without sufficient due process safeguards. This could lead to legal challenges and reputational damage for ISPs.
Advice to the Client:
If Section 92A were still in effect, the best course of action for ISPs would be to implement clear policies for addressing copyright infringement that provide due process safeguards for alleged infringers. It is also important to consider the potential legal risks and reputational damage associated with wrongful termination of accounts.
Potential Ethical Issues:
The potential ethical issues associated with Section 92A include concerns about access to information and freedom of expression. The provision could have had a chilling effect on online speech and could have been used to silence legitimate forms of expression.
Possible Implications or Consequences:
The potential implications or consequences of Section 92A included the potential for wrongful termination of accounts, reputational damage for ISPs, and a chilling effect on online speech and access to information. The repeal of the provision was a positive step towards protecting due process rights and promoting freedom of expression and access to information.
Related Case Laws and Judgments:
1. R v The Internet Bureau Ltd  NZHC 2359 – This case involved a challenge to Section 92A on the grounds that it violated due process rights.
2. Recording Industry Association of New Zealand Inc v Telecom Corporation of New Zealand Ltd  NZCA 52 – This case involved a challenge to the repeal of Section 92A on the grounds that it was unconstitutional.
3. Sky Network Television Ltd v My Box NZ Ltd  NZHC 1434 – This case involved a challenge to the legality of selling set-top boxes that enabled users to access copyrighted content without permission.
4. TVNZ Ltd v R  NZDC 26209 – This case involved a prosecution for copyright infringement in relation to the unauthorized use of TVNZ content on a website.
5. Sony Computer Entertainment New Zealand Ltd v Stevens  NZHC 2065 – This case involved a challenge to the legality of modding PlayStation consoles to enable them to play pirated games.