Another Bout of Three-Strikes Hits New Zealand

Blame it on the weather, but New Zealand is now girding its way through another bout of three-strikes.

The country originally shelved plans to implement disconnections for repeat infringers, based on heavy opposition from consumer rights organizations, civil liberties groups, and ISPs themselves.  Since then, three-strikes proponents have been stymied in France, part of a global mood against the aggressive enforcement tactic.

So where does New Zealand go from here?  In France, a three-strikes measure failed because of a lack of constitutional due process, and New Zealand faced a similar issue.  Now, New Zealand lawmakers are softening their initial approach – instead of directly snipping the ISP connection after a third violation, a mediation and tribunal process is being considered.

Sounds like a reasonable compromise, though this is not what rights holders initially envisioned.  Ahead of the tribunal hearing, the media company can request the identity of the infringer from the ISP, and initiate the proceeding accordingly. That bears similarity to a ‘John Doe’ clarification process in the United States, a system that directly involves the courts and has largely been judged ineffective against broader piracy.