Anti-Piracy measures in New Zealand could change its libraries forever.

Governments around the world are trying to figure out ways of cutting down on piracy. Some governments have already implemented controversial monitoring and three-strike rules. Such rules may look like they solve the issue in theory, but its a very different outcome in practice.

France was one of the first places to attempt to implement the three-strike rule, which sees an Internet connection represented by an IP address monitored through an ISP. If an infringement is identified a strike is given, get three strikes and the connection is terminated and/or you face prosecution or fines. However, it never made it past the French National Assembly…

But that same system has made it into law for New Zealand, and will be turned on come September…

The major consequence of that is it could mean libraries in the country start turning off public Internet access. The issue stems from the rules not taking into account the fact a library is a public place with many users accessing the Web. Instead, it is just seen as a single IP address with the same three strikes as everyone else.

The dilemma for the libraries is if they continue to allow unmonitored access they could be facing large payouts as a third strike can mean a $15,000 fine. The alternative is to monitor access for all users, but again that would require an investment of money by each library for the required software, it would also offer no guarantee that fines could be avoided.

Members of Parliament in New Zealand have been told of the issue, but apparently decided it wasn’t something they needed to fix. It therefore looks likely the Internet access libraries provide could disappear before the year is over. For those without a PC at home that’s going to be a major blow.