[LINK] Rudd Gov considers 3-strike policy against illegal song downloaders

Michael Meloni mike at somebodythinkofthechildren.com
Sun Feb 17 12:27:47 EST 2008

War on music piracy
Heath Gilmore and Kerrie Armstrong
February 17, 2008

AS THE internet threatens to kill the established music industry, the 
Rudd Government is considering a three-strikes policy against computer 
users who download songs illegally.

The Government will examine new legislative proposals being unveiled in 
Britain this week to target people who download films and music 
illegally. Internet service providers (ISPs) there might be legally 
required to take action against users who access pirated material.

The music industry estimates 1 billion songs were traded illegally by 
Australians last year.

Under the three-strikes policy, a warning would be first issued to 
offenders who illegally share files using peer-to-peer technology to 
access music, TV shows and movies free of charge. The second strike 
would lead to the offender's internet access being suspended; the third 
would cancel the offender's internet access.

The policy would mirror legislation being introduced in Britain, which 
would require ISPs to police the activities of users.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said the Government was aware of 
the views put by the music industry for a code of conduct for ISPs to 
address file-sharing by subscribers.

"We will also examine any UK legislation on this issue [including any 
three-strikes policy] with particular interest," he said.

Music Industry Piracy Investigations general manager Sabiene Heindl said 
her organisation had been lobbying for the policy for 12 months.

She said action had been taken to remove illegally downloaded tracks 
from blogs, Cyberlocker and BitTorrent sites but this had failed to stem 
the estimated 2.8 million Australians downloading music illegally last year.

"Because P2P file sharing involves these music files sitting on 
individual people's computers, there is very little that MIPI can do to 
remove those files or stop them being shared," she said. "That's why we 
have been pushing a proposal to internet service providers for a 
commonsense system of warning notices which, if unheeded, would 
ultimately result in a user having their account suspended or disconnected."

National Internet Industry Association chief executive Peter Corones 
said his members' reservations over the three-strikes and code of 
conduct proposals would be discussed with Mr Conroy this week.

He said present legislation provided severe penalties for dealing in 
pirate sound recordings that infringe on the rights of artists, 
composers, record companies and music publishers. Yet there was no 
action to date.

Penalties include injunctions, damages and costs, fines of up to $60,500 
for individuals and up to $302,500 for corporations per infringement and 
up to five years' jail.

"Internet service providers are not the enforcers of copyright," Mr 
Corones said. They are "a mere conduit" for internet connectivity.

Any action by the Government is likely to displease young broadband 
users. Quantum Market Research YouthSCAN released the findings of a new 
study this month showing 63 per cent of young Australians felt there was 
no point in paying for music that was freely available.

It asked 600 Australians aged between 10 and 17 across NSW and Victoria 
in August and September about accessing music.

Consultant Nick Dawes said a no-pay attitude had developed among young 
people because they did not fear any retribution.

Their attitude is: "If we can get it for free, why not?"


- Mike


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