[LINK] Brandis loves companies, hates people

Roger Clarke 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
Mitchell Bingemann
The Australian
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 
Brandis said.

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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