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Kiwi three strikes piracy case collapses

Accused had never seen, and had no idea how to use, file-sharing software

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One of the first three cases brought under New Zealand's controversial three strikes copyright infringement has collapsed after the accused demonstrated no knowledge of file-sharing software.

Civil liberties group Tech Liberty NZ reports the case collapsed because the accused had no idea how file-sharing software worked.

But the accused, a student, was the named account-holder for the internet service at a shared house in which she lived, making it likely that one of her flatmates was responsible for the digital naughtiness.

The student's defence also relied on the notices sent missing details required under New Zealand law. Tech Liberty NZ also says the damages sought exceeded those available under New Zealand's Copyright Act.

That Act has been been widely criticised for its 'three strikes' provision permitting internet account-holders' internet connections to be severed after three accusations of piracy.

The Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ) has not said why it withdrew the case – the latest piece of news on the Association's site details nominees for New Zealand's imminent music awards (Kimbra looks like cleaning up, FWIW).

Tech Liberty NZ says the collapse of the case shows pirates how to circumvent the law – use someone else's internet connection – and has again called for the Copyright Act to be amended.

The collapse of the case caps a great week for technology-related-law in New Zealand, after the ongoing revelations of the government's pursuit of Kim Dotcom being horribly botched. ®

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