Content owners don't back AFACT: iiNet

Summary:Content providers are stepping away from the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT)'s pursuit of ISPs over copyright infringement, and are open to iiNet's piracy mediator model, according to iiNet's chief regulatory officer Steve Dalby.

Content providers are stepping away from the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT)'s pursuit of ISPs over copyright infringement, and are open to iiNet's piracy mediator model, according to iiNet's chief regulatory officer Steve Dalby.

"There's been a lot of behind the scenes discussion not just with other ISPs but other content providers. The movie studios are not interested in a conversation with us. For them, their conversation is very one-sided, it's 'we'll tell you what to do, and you do it'. Whereas we've spoken with the music sector, with online publishing, print publishing as well as software publishing [and] game publishers, and they're all looking for a solution," Dalby told ZDNet Australia.

"They're not looking to beat somebody up, they're not looking to take people to court and, behind closed doors, it would appear to me that they're looking to distance themselves from AFACT and the AFACT approach."

Following the defeat of AFACT's appeal of the original Federal Court ruling that iiNet did not authorise its customers' copyright infringement, iiNet released a white paper proposing an independent third-party mediator between ISPs and content providers that would investigate and rule on whether a customer had infringed on copyright, and then deal out fines accordingly.

Dalby said that iiNet is still in favour of the model, and is working to get private and public backing.

"I think there's a fair bit of work to be done across a number of industry sectors and into the public sector through the minister for communications, and maybe the attorney-general, as well, to see whether that is something that they can support. And those discussions are continuing. It hasn't ground to a halt; it's something we're actively involved in."

Despite iiNet's recent victory and move to make peace with content owners, AFACT is seeking leave to appeal the case to the High Court of Australia, and yesterday won a reduction in the amount of iiNet's court costs that it had to pay to 60 per cent. Dalby said that he didn't think that the ongoing court dramas were an excuse for the industry not to act on piracy.

"Even if the High Court does give leave for them to appeal ... there still needs to be a solution crafted. Making us responsible for something doesn't necessarily put a solution in place," he said.

NBN pricing

iiNet remains a strong supporter of the roll-out of the National Broadband Network (NBN), and Dalby welcomed the release of the National Digital Economy Strategy by Communications Minister Stephen Conroy. When asked about whether he shared Internode founder Simon Hackett's concerns about the pricing structure for wholesale access and bandwidth usage, Dalby said that iiNet is comfortable with NBN Co's pricing.

"I can't say we are necessarily aligned with Simon's maths, and we know that behind the scenes, NBN Co is offering everybody exactly the same structure. Probably what differs between iiNet and maybe Internode is the customer base. And so Simon's doing maths based on his customers and their distribution and their demographics and the sorts of services they want. When we do it, we don't have a concern to the same level as Simon has," he said.

"We're quite a bit bigger [than] Internode, and so again it's the maths that are different for us. Simon might be at the margin, we're well and truly comfortable with the structure as long as it's delivered according to the promise that's a level playing field and everyone gets the same rates," he said.

Topics: NBN, Broadband, Government : AU, Piracy, Security, Telcos

About

Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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