Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) chairman professor Michael Fraser has removed himself from the latest round of Australian piracy negotiations, following criticism of a potential conflict of interest.
The controversy started after it was revealed that the government-funded ACCAN was going to be included in the latest of a series of meetings convened by the Attorney-General's Department. The meetings are looking into how reducing online copyright infringement might be achieved. ACCAN previously said that Jonathan Gadir, senior policy advisor for the group, and a former ABC producer and casual lecturer at UTS, will be the lone representative for ACCAN at the meeting. Fraser was also invited to attend the meeting, representing ACCAN.
Fraser's impartiality was called into question, as he has previously advocated for strong measures to protect copyright. He was the founder and CEO of the Copyright Agency Limited, a not-for-profit organisation that ensures content owners are paid for their work. He was also appointed as the chairman of the Australian Copyright Council in May, of which he has been a director since 2001.
Following today's revelations, ACCAN told ZDNet Australia that after meeting with Fraser, it has been decided that he will not attend tomorrow's meeting; instead, ACCAN CEO Teresa Corbin will attend in his place.
The Attorney-General's Department provided the following list to ZDNet Australia of the attendees for tomorrow's meeting:
Digital Entertainment Alliance of Australia (DEAA)
Australian Content Industry Group (ACIG)
Internet Industry Association (IIA)
Communications Alliance, including Telstra, Optus and iiNet
Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN)
Internet Society of Australia (ISOC-AU)
Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE).
ACCAN and ISOC-AU are representing consumers, while DEAA and ACIG are representing content owners, and IIA and the Communications Alliance are representing the internet service providers (ISPs).