[LINK] Brandis loves companies, hates people
Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
Fri Feb 14 16:13:35 AEDT 2014
[Even worse than merely increasing corporate welfare, the Govt has:
- adopted the industry's blatantly illogical 'theft' and 'piracy'
rhetoric in relation to copyright infringement, and
- proposes to impose police functions on ISPs.
[The one piece of good news is that there's a chance this could
involve court-issued injunctions, which would force corporations to
produce evidence, and should therefore filter out large numbers of
spurious take-down notices.]
Brandis to tak hard line on Internet piracy through copyright law
14 February 2014
THE Attorney-General has flagged a rewrite of the Copyright Act that
could force the nation's internet service providers to crack down on
pirates who illegally download TV shows and movies.
Speaking at the Australian Digital Alliance forum in Canberra this
morning Attorney-General George Brandis said he was considering a
number of proposals to protect the rights of content owners,
describing the act of illegally downloading copyrighted material as
"The illegal downloading of Australian films online is a form of
theft. I say Australian films, but of course the illegal downloading
of any protected content is a form of theft," he said.
Senator Brandis, who is also who is also the minister for the arts,
highlighted section 101 of the Copyright Act as one potential area
for reform that could be used to battle online copyright infringers.
Section 101 states that an entity which authorises the infringement
of copyright without the copyright owner's permission is liable for
that infringement. He said he would also consider reforms to require
internet providers, like Telstra and Optus, to block websites that
host copyrighted material.
"The government will be considering possible mechanisms to provide a
'legal incentive' for an internet service provider to cooperate with
copyright owners in preventing infringement on their systems and
networks," he said.
"This may include looking carefully at the merits of a scheme whereby
ISPs are required to issue graduated warnings to consumers who are
using websites to facilitate piracy."
Such a scheme would resuscitate an abandoned trial to have ISPs pass
on notices of alleged online copyright infringement to their
customers. That trial - which was devised in consultation with
Australia's three largest telcos and Hollywood's top movie studios -
was abandoned in May last year after iiNet withdrew.
Copyright holders represented by anti-piracy group the Australian
Federation Against Copyright Theft maintain the trial can still be
implemented, but telcos have shown little support for the scheme
because it requires them to fund the costs of the program.
Senator Brandis however said such changes would not put Australian
ISPs at a disadvantage with their international counterparts.
"Many overseas jurisdictions have the concept of authorisation
liability, secondary liability or similar, which are intended to
capture ISPs," he said.
Senator Brandis said the government would also consider stringent new
plans that could involve the blocking of websites that host copyright
The Australian reported in October that the government was exploring
tough new measures to curb the illegal downloading of copyright
material, including a scheme to allow movie studios to seek
injunctions to block websites distributing pirated material.
"Another option that some stakeholders have raised with me is to
provide the Federal Court with explicit powers to provide for
third-party injunctions against ISPs, which will ultimately require
ISPs to 'take down' websites hosting infringing content," Senator
Senator Brandis's comments follow yesterday's release of the
Australian Law Reform Commission's (ALRC) report into copyright
reform for the digital age. The report has recommended changes to the
Copyright Act to introduce a "fair use" regime that aims to be
In its report the ALRC said Australia should include a "fair use"
defence in the Copyright Act, similar to that available in the United
States, which would allow people to use copyright material for the
purpose of research, criticism or review, parody or satire, news
reporting, quotation, education and other select means.
Senator Brandis however said he was unconvinced that a flexible fair
use model would be feasible.
"I remain to be persuaded that this is the best direction for
Australian law, but nevertheless I will bring an open and inquiring
mind to the debate. I am convinced that we can do much to improve how
copyright works in this country," he said.
Roger Clarke http://www.rogerclarke.com/
Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd 78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
Tel: +61 2 6288 6916 http://about.me/roger.clarke
mailto:Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au http://www.xamax.com.au/
Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Law University of N.S.W.
Visiting Professor in Computer Science Australian National University
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