Internet Service Providers Provide Strategies to Combat Online Copyright InfringementSydney, 1 September 2014 – The ISP industry has proposed constructive strategies to combat online copyright infringement, but warned that elements of the Federal Government’s current proposals would damage industry and consumers alike.
The Communications Alliance submission in response to the Government’s discussion paper on online copyright infringement provides a detailed set of recommendations, underlined by ISPs’ willingness to engage in good faith discussions with Government and right holders to address what all acknowledge is a significant problem.
Communications Alliance is strongly opposed to the Government’s proposed amendments to extend authorisation liability in the Copyright Act, because these would create risk and uncertainty for consumers and service providers and would have potentially damaging outcomes for a wide range of Australian businesses and organisations, including universities, libraries, retailers, cloud-based services providers and internet cafes.
“We recommend that the Government consider closely the “Follow the Money” strategies being pursued in the United Kingdom, which attack the viability of infringing websites by choking off the flow of advertising revenues”, Communications Alliance CEO, John Stanton said.
“We strongly believe that any package of measures must include continued efforts by rights holders to make lawful content accessible to Australian consumers in a timely and affordable way – thereby reducing the temptation to infringe that flows from consumers not being able to get hold of content when they want it.”
Mr Stanton said that Communications Alliance and its ISP members stand ready to engage in good faith discussions with rights holders on a potential industry-agreed scheme to combat infringement.
“We are by no means convinced that a graduated response scheme would be effective, but we have spelled out in our submission what such a scheme could potentially look like.
“A range of issues would need to be resolved – not least who would pay for such a scheme.
“We reject the rights holders’ view that Australian internet users should foot the bill – via ISPs – for doing the rights holders’ police work. Rights holders have existing legal rights – seldom used – to take action against anyone who infringes their copyright.
“The economic beneficiaries of any reduction in online infringement will be the rights holders, who – if they want an industry-agreed scheme - must recognise the need for them to reimburse the reasonable costs that ISPs would incur in helping to fight infringement,” Mr Stanton said.
Communications Alliance has supported the Government’s proposed amendment to extend the safe harbour provisions of the Copyright Act, but has also suggested that the Government consider going further, by implementing a conditional immunity framework for carriers, carriage service providers, hosts and online service providers.
“We believe that the Government proposal for an extended injunction power to block infringing websites has weaknesses and limitations, but nonetheless have proposed safeguards and features that, if incorporated, mean that site-blocking could play a useful role in addressing online copyright infringement in Australia,” Mr Stanton said.
ABOUT COMMUNICATIONS ALLIANCE
Communications Alliance is the primary telecommunications industry body in Australia. Its membership is drawn from a wide cross-section of the communications industry, including carriers, carriage and internet service providers, content providers, search engines, equipment vendors, IT companies, consultants and business groups.
Its vision is to provide a unified voice for the telecommunications industry and to lead it into the next generation of converging networks, technologies and services. The prime mission of Communications Alliance is to promote the growth of the Australian communications industry and the protection of consumer interests by fostering the highest standards of business ethics and behaviour through industry self-governance. For more details about Communications Alliance, see www.commsalliance.com.au.Media information contact:
Kreab Gavin Anderson
Lucy Chamberlain firstname.lastname@example.org 0402 106 613