Brandis flags three-strike response to piracy
Senator Scott Ludlam has grilled Attorney-General George Brandis on the Federal Government’s plans for internet piracy legislation, and found renewed suggestions that a ‘three strike’ policy may be on the way.
Senator Ludlum was able to question Brandis and the secretary for the Attorney-General's Department Andrew Walter at a session of the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee last week.
Senator Brandis claimed to the hearing that the biggest thing on the average Australian’s mind was how to protect copyright for major film, TV and media companies.
“There is a very strong public interest in the protection of private property, and that includes the protection of intellectual property,” Brandis said.
The High Court of Australia recently ruled that internet provider iiNet was not required to police piracy among its customers, a ruling the Attorney-General’s office says has made ISP less engaged in the piracy discussion.
The assistant secretary raised the idea of a ‘graduated response’, where copyright infringers are sent warning notes and then penalised.
“A lot of the pressure on the ISPs to come to the table went away because the ISPs had a very comprehensive victory in the iiNet case,” Walter said.
“Since the iiNet judgment came down, there has been less willingness from some ISPs to come to the table.”
For many tech industry insiders, the problem does not belong to ISPs seen to facilitate piracy, but rather it is an issue for the content-makers themselves.
Some say broadcasters and other media companies have failed to respond to the shift in consumer models, as the internet community moves to its own demand-based models and the old infrastructure struggles to keep up.
iiNet Chief Regulatory Officer Steve Dalby says the rights holders should be the one in charge of both exploiting and protecting their own material.
“The rights holders are still insisting ISP's should perform work on their behalf instead of addressing what we have always said is the root cause of the infringements -- the limited accessibility to desirable content and the discriminatory and high cost of content in Australia," Dalby told ICT media outlet ZDNet.
“Infringements are a symptom - access is the problem.”
A full insight into the ongoing debate on the future of piracy and paid content in Australia is available here, from ZDNet.