In the wake of iiNet's recent court win, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Stephen Conroy has said that he wants the film and internet industries to sit down and try and work out a code of conduct to prevent pirating of copyrighted works rather than working towards legislation changes.
"I would hope to encourage the [internet service providers] and the movie industries to sit down and try and come up with a code of conduct and let's see where that goes before we start leaping off down that path," he told the ABC's Hungry Beast program on Friday.
"I think that a mature approach by both the movie industry and the internet industry sitting down, having a conversation, and coming up with a code of practice is the absolute preferable outcome. The problem is at the moment in Australia there is no agreement, there is no discussion, there is no dialogue and people resorted to court," he said.
His comments followed Thursday's decision by NSW Federal Court Judge Justice Dennis Cowdroy that internet service provider (ISP) iiNet did not authorise copyright infringement allegedly occurring on its network, as had been claimed by a consortium of film and television players, represented by the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT).
"I think it's always disappointing when situations like this end up in court in the first place," Conroy said.
He pointed out that it was a worldwide battle, with other countries such as the UK and France talking about introducing relevant laws. "In Australia, unfortunately, because of a refusal to hold a dialogue — and I've been trying for two years to encourage the sectors to have a dialogue — they've got themselves into a court battle of which there was a decisive outcome in favour of iiNet and the ISPs," the minister said.
"But what I would still hope is that we can bring them together to sit down and settle their differences [and] create a code of practice that actually protects both parties."
The Sydney Morning Herald previously reported a spokesperson for the minister saying the government was considering a "three strikes" rule — if a user infringes copyright three times they would be cut off by an internet service provider — depending on the outcome of the trial.