Curran suggests ISP levy for copyright

Shadow minister for ICT Clare Curran says a licence fee attached to internet connections should be considered to break New Zealand's copyright law impasse.

In a blog post this morning, Curran suggests any future regime should enable people to access the information or material they seek.

To do that, she says, we should consider introducing a licensing fee attached to internet connections.

"This fee would then be collected and distributed by an external agency amongst copyright holders. In order to work, it would need the buy in of all ISPs and rights holders. It would likely be focussed on New Zealand copyright content first," she writes.

Curran says an independent rights agency could be established to distribute fees and rule on disputes.

"We still need an enforcement regime and a rights agency could also have the power to investigate and adjudicate on copyright disputes and alleged infringements aka the Section 92A model. However, I am of the view that internet disconnection is not a viable option. It simply won't work and will drive hard core copyright infringers more underground. Financial penalties are more likely to work."

The government last week proposed the Copyright Tribunal should have powers to manage copyright disputes under a new copyright law.

Among her other proposals, Curran suggests there should be more education about copyright.

"A public education campaign is also needed for people to understand that protecting the rights of people who create content is important," she writes.

She also says there should be a commitment to protect New Zealand content first.

"It's our heritage, and the people who create New Zealand content must be able to make a living from their work and have that work valued."

Curran says from the discussions she's had to date, "there is a growing consensus around these ideas".

"And some of them are still just ideas. They need more work. But if you're going to spend taxpayer dollars isn't it be better to spend them enabling access to content and distributing funds to the people who created it rather than just punishing infringements, discouraging access and encouraging more black market activity."