A telco lobby group in New Zealand has pinned down the cost to ISPs and other service providers of processing a notice of copyright infringement from rights holders - reporting a range between NZ$30 to $37 (A$23 to $28.30) per notice.
The New Zealand Telecommunications Carriers Forum (TCF), providing the cost of compliance estimate to the NZ Parliamentary Select Committee hearing submissions on the shaky isles' Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill, described the amount as "substantial".
The TCF highlighted the importance of having web-based forms for automated processing, and told the committee that cost recovery fees should be mandatory.
The TCF submission also said the estimate did not include the cost of lost revenue, the cost of terminating an internet account on a fixed-term plan or as part of a service bundle, or the cost of reconnecting services after a suspension period for copyright infringement.
A cost-benefit analysis of the new copyright enforcement regime should be commissioned by the select committee, the TCF's copyright policy working group said.
TCF chief executive David Stone said the cost of processing infringement notices - which would vary in volume depending on the size of the ISP in question - would be high, as systems and processes would have to be developed and resourced.
"Is it right that rights holders can drive costs into ISPs' businesses, with no benefit to these?" Stone asked.
Rights holders estimated that processing copyright infringement notices costs little over a few cents each. But Stone said this was a figure his organisation's members disputed.
"In the UK, it's been decided that rights holders bear three-quarters of the cost of processing copyright infringement notices, with ISPs the remaining quarter," Stone said.
This, he said, was less than ideal but more fair than ISPs bearing the entire cost of notice processing.
TCF membership comprises of most of New Zealand's major telcos such as Telecom New Zealand, TelstraClear and Vodafone.