A bill repealing Section 92A of the Copyright Act will be introduced into Parliament today by Commerce Minister Simon Power.
The Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill repeals Section 92A and replaces it with a three-notice regime which is intended to deter illegal file sharing.
"This amendment puts in place a fair and balanced process to deal with online copyright infringements occurring via file sharing," Mr Power says.
"The major feature is the three-notice process, which educates the public about illegal file sharing and provides effective methods for copyright owners to enforce their copyright.
"It ensures that file sharers are given adequate warnings that unauthorised sharing of copyright works is illegal."
The bill also extends the jurisdiction of the Copyright Tribunal, enabling it to hear complaints and award penalties of up to $15,000 based on the amount of damage sustained by the copyright owner.
Mr Power says the bill will also enable copyright owners to seek the suspension of internet accounts through the District Court for up to six months.
"It's important that account holders are given a reasonable time to stop infringing before enforcement takes place.
"The bill prescribes timeframes so account holders have the opportunity to address illegal file sharing activity occurring on their internet connection before enforcement action is taken.
"They will also have the chance to challenge notices and may request hearings at the Copyright Tribunal to contest infringement claims.
"Regulations will outline the awards the tribunal may make and they'll be drafted later this year when the bill has been enacted.
"Online copyright infringement is a problem for everyone, but especially for the creative industry, which has experienced significant declines in revenue as file sharing has become more prevalent.
"This bill is the result of extensive consultation with stakeholders and is an important step in addressing a complex issue."