New Zealand Copyright Law Impacts Internet Traffic, Experts Say

Sep 7, 2011 6:00 AM PST

AUCKLAND — New anti-piracy laws in New Zealand have caused a drop in the volume of Internet traffic, experts say.

The demand for international traffic had fallen after the government’s new copyright law went into effect last week, according to one of the country’s largest Internet companies.

The new "three strikes" piracy law, which passed in April, allows copyright owners to send evidence of alleged infringements to Internet service providers, who  will then send up to three infringement notices to account holders.

After the third notice, rights holders can bring a case before the Copyright Tribunal, which can fine an offender up to $15,000.

Two of New Zealand’s ISPs, Telecom and Orcon, said they have not received any warning notices, but have seen a change in traffic volume.

"We've definitely seen an impact ... but we're only a few days in so I don't know if it's a trend," said Scott Bartlett, Orcon’s chief executive.

He added the amount of international peer-to-peer traffic has dropped by around 10 percent and that this traffic is the biggest segment of data Orcon deals with, behind streaming video.

Other experts suggested that this drop in volume is temporary, while some Internet users said the law meant that they no longer needed large monthly data caps.

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