The introduction of a controversial 'three strikes' policy has apparently halved online piracy in New Zealand.

Under the new laws, introduced last year, pirates are warned twice and can be fined up to £7,600 ($11,800) if they're caught illegally downloading music, movies or TV shows from the internet again.

The Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ) says 2,766 infringement letters had been issued, yet only a handful of offenders had gone on to receive their third strike. None have yet been fined.

RIANZ says, as a result, the number of top-200 movies illegally viewed dropped from 110,000 to just 50,000 in September 2011, one month after the policy was introduced in August.

Upping the ante

The group says that number has failed to drop further since September last year and says that 4 out of every 10 Kiwis are still flouting the laws.

Now RIANZ wants more letters to be sent out (5,000 a month to be exact) to offending parties and hopes to achieve that by cutting the cost of sending them out.

In the UK, ministers are still pondering how to combat online piracy. Warning letter and fines were agreed in the Digital Economy Act, but it remains unclear whether that bill will ever become law.

It seems that, in recent months, the focus has switched back towards shutting down and blocking prominent download portals, such as The Pirate Bay, rather than looking to punish individual offenders.

Via: BBC