[LINK] Will Conroy's filter rescue AFACT?

Kim Holburn kim at holburn.net
Sun Feb 27 09:21:19 AEDT 2011

> Will Conroy's filter rescue AFACT?
> February 25, 2011
> Will mandatory filtering reshape the copyright war after the iiNet win?
> The Australian arm of the copyright police has once again been defeated in court. The Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft has spent two years plenty of cash dragging Australian ISP iiNet through the courts in an effort to hold it responsible for illegal file-sharing undertaken by its customers. This week the court dismissed AFACT’s appeal against an earlier decision which found iiNet was not liable for its customers downloading habits.
> Is AFACT going to throw in the towel and go back to busting shonky DVD sellers at the market? Not likely. AFACT has 28 days to lodge a High Court appeal which, going on past form, I think we can expect AFACT to do.
> By now the copyright police must realise that they're not going to win this war in the courts alone. Dragging ISPs, BitTorrent search engines and even end users through the courts has failed to stamp out illegal file-sharing. You might hear threats that the copyright police will start raiding lounge rooms, but former AFACT head Adrianne Pecotic is on record as saying its only interested  in chasing those who release pirate copies of movies, not people sitting at home downloading them. US efforts to prosecute individuals turned into a PR nightmare which AFACT surely doesnt want to see repeated in Australia.
> Frustrated in the courts, the copyright police may call in favors from draconian lawmakers. Conroy's mandatory internet filter and the international Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement could both serve as major weapons in the war on piracy. The harshest elements of the three-strikes rule have apparently been scratched from the ACTA, but considering the secrecy surrounding the treaty you can't take anything for granted. Some analysts even see the fine print of this week's verdict as laying the foundations for an Australian three-strikes rule.
> Meanwhile the Australian mandatory filtering debate is far from dead, Conroy is just biding his time. He recently confirmed that filtering is still on the table. He also said he was awaiting the outcome of the iiNet trial and the government’s Convergence Review before deciding what action to take in regards to online piracy. 
> It's no coincidence that iiNet is one of Conroy's most vocal opponents. The timing of the iiNet case was also no coincidence - a surprise attack designed to strike fear into Australian ISPs as Conroy demanded support for filtering. AFACT hoped to hand iiNet's head to Conroy on a silver platter and then claim its pieces of silver in the form of an expanded mandatory filter to cover file-sharing. ISPs would be forced to bow to Conroy's content filtering demands to escape the piracy lawsuits.
> iiNet may have won this battle, but this cat-and-mouse war is far from over. If anything this week’s decision could increase industry pressure for an expanded mandatory filtering regime to block illegal file-sharing. Expect the fighting to be fierce this year.

Kim Holburn
IT Network & Security Consultant
T: +61 2 61402408  M: +61 404072753
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