On July 2nd, New Zealand introduced its own set of 'safe harbour' provisions as one of the four principles within their Harmful Digital Communications Act 2015 (HDCA). The HDCA seeks to address the growing public awareness towards cyber bullying amongst young New Zealanders.

New Zealand's 'safe harbour' provisions are based on the principles in the United States' Digital Millennium Copyright Act 1998 (DMCA). They establish a non-judicial procedure for online content hosts (such as YouTube or Facebook) to access protection and support against any civil and criminal proceedings arising through unfounded complaints against content.

The HDCA includes provisions to:

  • protect online content hosts against unnecessary criminal and civil proceedings by preventing frivolous, groundless or  trivial complaints against content;
  • increase compliance requirements and clarify the liabilities and obligations for those involved in digital  communications; and
  • remove harmful or illegal content quickly and efficiently.

The next step for the New Zealand Government is to establish an agency to formalise these regulations and ensure the guidance and protections provided in the HDCA are implemented appropriately.

To read the Harmful Digital Communications Act 2015 click here.