ACTA: ISPs to be liable for piracy

ACTA: ISPs to be liable for piracy

Summary: If Australia signs the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), internet service providers (ISPs) may be obliged to hand over the identity of its users to those defending copyright.

TOPICS: Broadband, Legal, Telcos, NBN

If Australia signs the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), internet service providers (ISPs) may be obliged to hand over the identity of its users to those defending copyright.

The European Commission of Trade has released a draft of the agreement, which aims to establish international standards on how to enforce intellectual property rights, and has involved countries around the world including Australia.

Signatories to the ACTA will be required to ensure that copyright holders can sue "intermediaries" whose services are used to infringe intellectual property.

"The parties [may] shall also ensure that right holders are in a position to apply for an injunction against [infringing] intermediaries whose services are used by a third party to infringe an intellectual property right," the draft states.

The agreement deals with difficulties that copyright holders have in targeting actual infringers online. It details that ISPs would not be required to be monitored if they agree upfront to hand over the identities of their customers should they come under investigation.

In civil proceedings, like that faced by iiNet in Australia, the agreement would require that authorities have the right to order the infringer to pay damages "adequate to compensate for the injury the right holder has suffered as a result of the infringement".

The draft also outlines how infringements would be valued.

Topics: Broadband, Legal, Telcos, NBN

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • [infringing] intermediaries whose services are used by a third party to infringe an intellectual property right," the draft states.

    Would this mean Telstra could be held accountable for the use of it's "Wires and cable"?
  • Australia has nothing to gain and everything to loose from signing such an agreement since most copywrite holders are US based. No doubt some giddy politician will be bought and Australia will become a hunting ground for law firms wielding rediculous lawsuits.
  • I think this is a dumb idea for Australia, If they sign it, the USA will attack us, and force us to hand over money, that will be of benefit to no one. The biggest issue with this is revealing the identies of people who own the IP address, there should be privacy law's to prevent this. Also how will they prove that it wasn't the next door neighbour who hacked into someone's wifi and "illegally" downloaded. Also a study in Norway proves that allowing people to share data via P2P, increases the industries revenue due to a larger exchange of media, (
    if only they understood that increased sharing of media content = larger sales. People who download will buy the content if it is good, like a try before you buy, and how can movie companies say that if they stop this piracy, it will increase their profits by the amount that is downloaded. First off pirates aren't going to stop downloading and buy everything, no one has the money, to pay outrageous prices for movies. Secondly the movie industry is in the stone age, they need to make media available on the internet, people don't have time to go and buy or hire movies. thirdly, Most people download TV, because Australia is about one season behind the USA, and adverts take up 33% of the show. If they want to reduce piracy, they must start with trackers and websites, that are made publicly available.
    But it will be proven that this step will create a large deficit for the industry.
  • The majority of pirated items online are due to the high costs of purchasing original products.

    With research having shown that most people that do download music and or movies etc, will then turn around and buy the original product, this would indicate that they want to know that the product is worth buying before actually spending their money, and with the amount of garbage out there, who can blame them.

    Copyright owners need to stop panicking and drag them self in to to new millennia, instead of making under the table payments to politicians and law makers, to have new laws introduced (nothing anybody does will stop these new laws).
    Why not wake and smell the possibility of a new way of making money.
  • If this goes ahead I am going to to stop buying music altogether, as well as DVDs and other media that fuels these people.

    I hope that a lot of people follow suit, I hope that this comes back to bite the record/media companies.
  • To me the highest cost of purchasing a product is not the dollars but all the fussing about that you have to do to get your hands on something. I would be happy to pay for an online movie / tv download service as long as it was up to date with the latest stuff, didn't have compulsory trailers/ warnings , wasn't ridiculously priced (ie seasons of tv shows priced at $3-$5 an episode when the entire season of 20+ episodes is available on dvd for $30) and didn't restrict where and when I can watch it.

    If the studios had half a brain they would purchase their own ultra high speed servers and seed Bittorrent with standard resolution / stereo only , advertising supported versions of their shows with pointers on where to get the full highdef 5.1 channel sound versions.
  • If the purpose of this is to allow copyright holders to sue those not directly responsible simply because they have a better capacity to cough up the big readies then you can almost guarantee that KRudd will be beating down doors to sign the agreement. It'll also be another excuse for the clown to get on another plane and take another holiday whilst leaving Gillard to mop up his latest mistakes.
    Mel Sommersberg
  • It's been clear for years that the content providers have literally no interest in responding to the needs of their current and potential customers.

    They like things just the way they used to be, as set up by them, and they seem to think they can continue to fund legal and political muscle to keep it 1960 forever.
  • Surely then Microsoft is liable.
    RE HASH 4
  • Looks as though the entertainment industry just bent over for the government to rape it on taxes for digital distribution later. Who's your Daddy?
    RE HASH 4