File-sharing burden of proof weakened by SOP

Supplementary Order Paper alters provisions of Copyright (Infringing File-Sharing) Bill

Commerce Minister Simon Power has introduced a Supplementary Order Paper to the the Copyright (Infringing File-Sharing) Bill aimed at clarifying the question of burden of proof that an infringement of copyright by online file-sharing has or has not occurred.

The bill is scheduled to go through its second reading today.

In its original form, Section 122MA of the Bill said an infringement notice issued by a rights holder should be considered “conclusive evidence” of an infringement, though the accused could submit evidence why this was not so. Some people filing submissions on the Bill said this suggested a “guilty until proved innocent” stance.

Power says this was not intended and his amendment is aimed at clarifying the matter. It substitutes the phrase “it is presumed” for the reference to “conclusive evidence”. The standard of rebuttal required has been eased slightly, from “give reasons that show that [the presumption is not correct]” to “give reasons why”.

Other amendments in the SOP postpone the commencement date of the legislation from July 1 to September 1 this year and postpone related dates of enactment of other sections.

Internet service providers, obliged to file an annual report on compliance with the sections of the legislation affecting them, will consequently not have to begin doing so until the end of 2012 if the SOP is passed; the original Bill required them to do it by the end of this year.

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Tags Simon PowerCopyright (infringing File-Sharing) Bill

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