Government Must Clarify Website Blocking CostsSydney, 11 June 2015 - The Attorney-General, Senator Brandis, should heed a Parliamentary Committee call for the Government to clarify the cost implications of its planned website blocking regime, Communications Alliance said today.
Commenting on the release of the report of the inquiry by the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs into the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015, released today, Communications Alliance CEO John Stanton said the Government should carry through on its earlier commitments.
“The Government’s policy proposal, in July 2014, stated categorically that ‘Rights holders would be required to meet any reasonable costs associated with an ISP giving effect to an order (to block a website)…….. ‘’, Mr Stanton said.
“But this core commitment by Government – which is important to minimise the costs on internet consumers -‘went missing’ when it drafted the legislation.
“The Committee has rightly pointed out that the Government has left cost issues opaque in the legislation and told the Government to clarify that service providers should not have to bear the cost of implementing orders to assist copyright holders.”
Communications Alliance welcomed the recommendation that the effectiveness of the Bill be reviewed after two years of operation, given the conflicting international evidence as to whether site-blocking can make a material difference to the frequency of online copyright infringement.
Mr Stanton also welcomed the Committee’s enthusiasm for the creation of a ‘landing page’ at the blocked online location, specifying that the site has been blocked by a court order.
“This is a good and practical step, but the landing page should be hosted and paid for by the relevant rights holder – as happens today when Interpol seeks the blocking of offensive or illegal websites,” Mr Stanton said.
He congratulated the Committee on resisting pressure from right holders to abandon the “primary purpose” test in the legislation, but supported the Government position as to requirement for Courts to take account of the factors specified in the s115A (5) of the Bill when deciding whether to grant an injunction.
“Communications Alliance continues to give guarded support to the legislation but urges Parliament to amend it before passage, to provide greater clarity, promote effectiveness and help avoid unintended costs and consequences for law-abiding Australian internet users”.
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:
Lucy Chamberlain firstname.lastname@example.org 0402 106 613