Australian ISP’s against government crackdown on piracy

from Australia’s leading internet service providers have hit out at
proposals by Attorney-General George Brandis to stop internet piracy as
being a “political thought-bubble” and burden on the industry that won’t
stop crime.

Senator Brandis last week said the government was considering the introduction of graduated warnings scheme,
known in the industry as a “three-strikes” system, in which internet
users who allegedly download pirated content are sent a series of
warnings before authorities begin legal action.

ISPs could also be ordered to take down websites that hosted pirated content, Senator Brandis said.

However, internet service providers have already begun to rally in an
effort to stop the scheme’s introduction. Telecommunications providers
have long been the focus of major court cases around the world because
the vast majority of content piracy is done as downloads over the

ISPs have been joined by users of copywritten materials like Universities Australia in calling for more flexibility in the law.

iiNet chief regulatory officer Steve Dalby agreed there was a piracy
problem but added graduated response systems had failed when they were
introduced overseas.

Failed path
“Why is [Senator] Brandis only looking at those stakeholders and only
taking their input into account and reflecting that in his speech?” he
said. “They know from their own personal experience in France, in New
Zealand and in the UK that graduated response doesn’t work . . . so we
are why going down a failed path in Australia?”

Mr Dalby said the best way to stop piracy was to release content in a
timely fashion through online streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.

“It can’t be a coincidence that graduated response doesn’t work
anywhere else in the world, and making content available in a timely
fashion in the US market does work,”
he said.

“I have concern that any Australian politician would prefer to
protect the rights of US companies in preference to looking after
Australian consumers.”

Trying to take down popular ­websites that host pirated content, such
as The Pirate Bay, would also fail because most were hosted outside
Australia’s jurisdiction, he said.

“If he means blocking them, it doesn’t work,” Mr Dalby added. “Pirate
Bay have changed their country of business about six times in the last
six months, and they continue to grow their customer base.

“Blocking websites is a political thought bubble that sounds good but it just doesn’t work.”
SingTel-Optus vice-president, regulatory and corporate affairs, David
Epstein said the content industry had never been willing to take on any
of the enforcement burden.

“The people who need to step up are those that make money from
­distributing content over carrier networks,” he said. “We have not seen
a willingness from them fund any models that try to deal with the
spread of copyright infringement.”

Optus also said any system designed to stop users from illegally
­downloading content would have to include all ISPs to prevent users
from jumping ship to non-participating ­companies.

Wide adoption necessary
“There has to be a willingness from the whole industry to work
through proposals and for wide adoption or else they won’t work,” Mr
Epstein said.

Telstra said it supported a “fair use” provision that would allow
consumers and businesses to use material that is protected under
copyright within reasonable limits, despite Senator Brandis stating he
was yet to be ­convinced it was the best direction for Australian law.

Foxtel, which is 50 per cent owned by Telstra, has previously stated
it is “strongly opposed” to the introduction of fair use provision.

“We … stand willing to engage in constructive industry discussions
to help address online piracy through means which balance the interests
of all stakeholders including Telstra customers and shareholders,” a
Telstra spokeswoman said.

A spokesman for Senator Brandis declined to comment.

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