Copyright Tribunal advertises for extra members

Expanded Tribunal part of Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act

The Copyright Tribunal is on the hunt for three extra members, following the passing of the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act 2011 earlier this year.

The new Act amended the Copyright Act of 1994 to allow for the appointment of three extra members to the Tribunal, and the Tribunal was given extra funding earlier this year to allow for the expansion.

The Ministry of Economic Development advertised this weekend for the three additional members. The members will be appointed by the Governor General, on the recommendation of the Minister of Commerce, although the Tribunal is part of the Justice Ministry. The Ministry of Economic Development is carrying out the recruitment process.

The current members of the Tribunal are: professor Susy Frankel (chair), Peter Dengate-Thrush and Paul Sumpter.

All three current members have legal backgrounds, with Frankel and Sumpter holding academic legal positions.

Dengate-Thrush an internet law specialist who has also been extensively involved with ICANN.

The advertisement for the additional members states that the new members should have backgrounds in law, economics, commerce and/or public administration, plus an understanding of copyright issues and familiarity with the operation of the internet and related technology, among other requirements.

A Ministry of Economic Development spokesperson told Computerworld: “The new members will be required to deal with applications for an order under s122O of the Copyright Act 1994 as amended by the Amendment Act. Section 122O empowers the Tribunal to order an Internet Account holder to pay compensation to a copyright owner if the account holder has infringed copyright.”

The Tribunal’s funding has increased substantially to fund the extra three members and an anticipated increased workload following the passing of the Copyright Amendment Act.

A recent Treasury paper on the Act notes: “Fiscal implications of extending the jurisdiction of the Copyright Tribunal are estimated to be $408,000 in 2010/11 and $838,000 the following years (including out years) plus a one-off capital cost of $201,000 in 2010/11.”

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