Forget piracy law until iiNet's over: Telstra

Summary:Telco giant Telstra has asked the government to keep potential reviews of policy surrounding copyright infringement off the table until a court case being heard on the matter is completed.

Telco giant Telstra has asked the government to keep potential reviews of policy surrounding copyright infringement off the table until a court case being heard on the matter is completed.

The request came as part of a response to the terms of reference for a review of communications and media regulations in Australia published by Communications Minister Stephen Conroy in December. The review aims to address the changing nature of media and communications since the 1990s as a result of technological advancements.

In its submission, the telco argued that policy should not be considered while the legal action brought against fellow telco iiNet by Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) over alleged copyright infringement was still in the courts.

"While this litigation is on foot, the ability of industry participants involved in this legal action to fully participate in policy development processes is constrained," the telco said in its submission.

Federal court judges have yet to hand down a decision on AFACT's appeal of the original ruling in iiNet's favour. Regardless of the outcome, it is expected that the matter will be appealed to the High Court.

Telstra said that the industry was awaiting the outcome of the case before developing its own industry standards to respond to copyright infringement.

"Telstra believes that this issue is better dealt with by seeking an industry-led consensus between copyright owners and [internet service providers] once the litigation is resolved and submits that as such, the issue of online intellectual property infringement should be explicitly excluded from consideration under the Convergence Review," Telstra said.

In AFACT's own submission to the terms of the review, the organisation said that Australians had a "strong preference" for peer-to-peer piracy websites such as The Pirate Bay.

In Telstra's submission, the telco has also requested that any potential examination of spectrum licensing as part of the review should not delay the allocation of the 700MHz and 2.5GHz spectrum, expected to be auctioned off in 2012.

Topics: Piracy, Government : AU, Legal, Security, Telcos, Telstra

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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