Conroy calls for piracy code of conduct

Conroy calls for piracy code of conduct

Summary: 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.


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.

Topics: Piracy, Government AU, Security, Telcos

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
  • Looks like the pollies are starting to learn

    Looks like the pollies are starting to learn - legislation against the overwhelming majority of the population - at least the population under 40 is a big lose for them.

    So they'll take the easy way out and let the parties work it out themselves.
  • Waste of time

    What is there for the copypigs and the ISPs to talk about? The only possible solution is that mandated by law throughout modern history: If you accuse someone of a crime, you have to summons them and prove it beyond reasonable doubt in front of a judge, guilty or not guilty. Anything else is an abridgement of due process and human rights.

    The only reason the copypigs want to short-circuit the usual legal process is because they lack the resources and time to prosecute the entire population, which is what they're dealing with. So this is nothing more than terrorism in its purest form - terrorise an entire nation into obedience by trial-less mass persecution. The fact is, if the entire population is ignoring the law, then the law is an ass.

    And in the end, people filesharing copyrighted material over the internet isn't the ISPs' problem. End of discussion.
  • Some Big Media Companies Are Really Stupid!

    The bandwidth charges for a Movie download are greater than DVD rental charges. If DVD's were in a single open standard format (rather than over 100 inconsistent proprietary ones) no one would bother with downloading.

    Second, there are a multitude of technical means to stop 99 percent of illegal downloads. When AFACT or some big company pays me to tell how to do this then I'll tell them. Right now they seem content to waste their money on lawyers.
  • why?

    As if the studios are going to negotiate with ISPs.

    They expect their customers to simply bend over and get what the studios want to give them, how they want to give it to them and for whatever price they feel like charging. They are certainly not interested in a 3rd parties point of view.
  • If only...

    If only this guy spends as much time further developing the ICT industry as opposed to focusing on things like this.

    Shouldn't this be the responsibility of the Minister of Arts? lol... since when do record companies belong to ICT?
  • AFACT will always represent the evil side

    AFACT is evil and it's only a mater of time before Conroy does something stupid like adapt a three strikes policy. Which I garrantee would be his last as it would be the last straw for the IT community who are already very much upset with his arrogant ways. My concern is AFACT wont go away until they either get what they want or someone makes a firm policy over who is responsible for what and they sure arent doing things in the publics interest. More like a Mafia representative.
  • Re: Some Big Media Companies Are Really Stupid!

    And for every one of those technical means, Dr. Richard, there's a technical workaround... or a cost-benefit threshold. Most ISP's are struggling to keep up with throughput demands, you think they're going to turn the bandwidth-shaping boxes up to 11, or set up constant packet-sniffing on their core links? If they somehow did convince ISP's to shoot themselves in the foot, people would go back to ripping DVD's.

    Many see file-sharing as a necessary evil. They perpetuate this crime with the intention of breaking the backs of some of history's most fallacious, avaricious and reprehensible self-serving industries with laughably out-dated business models... companies that misrepresent their role and the degree to which all profits and losses are passed to the artists on whose behalf they claim to speak. Funny enough, their actions also fit the informal definition of the word "piracy".

    A judge has handed down a final ruling, and that's not good enough for Conroy, no , he still thinks "its the fault of the ISP" and that the ISP has to wipe the collective behind of the movie industry for them. SC deserved to be taken out the back, stripped of his rights to politics, and handed a job flipping burgers at McDonalds, because maybe there he will not DESTROY the ISP industry in Australia.
  • Dialog? Really?

    First: hollywood had a *record breaking year* and you're trying to claim "damages" due to piracy?
    Second: How on earth can there be :loss due to piracy" when *so much* content is *simply not available for purchase*? The region coding practices and distribution deals mean that *lots* of content simply cannot be purchased here in australia, either in a store of even purchased online and shipped here. And then to add insult to injury, the intire music/movie industry is flat out *refusing* to make (he overwhelmingly vast majority of) that content available for legitimate purchase online in digital format. You'd have to be *INSANE* to think this is a "dialog" problem, it is a MONOLOGUE problem - and the MONOLOGUE is The Music/Movie industry saying "we refuse to do anything to change our current business model, we insist that anything sold DIGITALLY is illegal and we refuse to embrace new technology".
  • Start

    How about we start with the content industry providing content people want in a format people want and at a reasonable cost.

    Until that happens, fighting piracy is pointless.

    I, among many others, would be happy to pay $10 bucks for a movie. But only if I had control of the file and had the right to watch it on any device or in any format that I please.

    When something like this is offered as an alternative, the content industry has no case against anyone, ISPs or regular people.
  • Spot on

    Spot on, anonymous. How many times have I been looking to purchase something legally only to be confronted with a message telling my I can't buy it because i'm in Australia. I google the song and find an itunes link to purchase it - hold on, it's the US Apple store - i get redirected to the Aussie store that doesn't sell the track i'm after. What now? I find it as a torrent and I still end up with my song. Can't say I didn't try to do the right thing.
  • Re: FINALLY!

    Unfortunately, it is not finished yet.
    Even if the reaction of Conroy indicates an admission of incompetence, he's still persisting in the (sanctioned by a court as wrong) idea that it is the **ISPs** that need to do something to stop... whatever AFACT wants to stop.
  • piracy code of conduct

    We already have a "piracy code of conduct" it's called The Law. ISPs should not be conducting vigilante operations at the whim of private enterprises. If copyright holders wish to stop a user from file-sharing they must take that user to court and deal with them under the judicial oversight of the courts.

    That is how a civilised society operates, why does Conroy think that private corporations should be allowed to punish citizens under their own pseudo-legal system?
  • Everyone has said it but I'll say it too

    Conroy has a seemingly feeble grasp on the scope of his portfolio and a seemingly feeble capacity for reason. If the movie industry wants to reduce illegal downloads all they have to do is provide legal ones. ISPs and "the movie industry" have nothing to talk about. Thats it.
  • Why load this responsibility onto ISPs?

    It should be just as it is with telephone or snail mail in that a delivery service is provided and they are not made to ensure the legality of the content.

    Leave the copyright protection aspects to the suppliers or sellers (who make such downloads available from their sites). Just how stupid is Conroy and has he got any qualifications for his job?. I tend to doubt that he has after the idiotic Internet Filter idea.
  • CONroy is clueless!

    He can't even catch on to the fact that he is totally out of his depth.

    He wants to legislate ISP monitoring and blocking of "adult" material and now he thinks IAPs are going to voluntarily shaft themselves over filesharing?

    How are ISPs supposed to identify legitimate digital downloads from "stolen" ones? For Christmas released a FREE version of "We Three Kings" which went viral. Much to the chagrin of the musicopoly, it topped playlists all over the world (esp. in the UK).

    Now, of course, Blondie fen are hoping that there will be a more polished version of the song on the forth-coming album.

    This is a band that learned the hard way. All their early stuff, "Heart of Glass" etc., is OWNED by EMI. If you want to cover one of these songs you have to fight with ARIA and APRA to get permission, and the band members get SFA.

    Everything since the release of "No Exit" is owned by a Private company controlled by the band, and LEASED to SONY BMG. If you want to cover one of these more recent songs you deal directly with Dick Johnson Songs.

    The day that the Arctic Monkeys made it big BECAUSE of file-sharing was the death-knell for the musicopoly.
  • Media companies should adapt

    As long as it is easier to pirate that to get legitimate software people will continue downloading media and other software illegally.

    The music industry seems to be slowly catching up with apps like spotify a online music stores but where is that for films? Where is Australia's

    Stop limiting people who want to pay for media!
  • Location discrimination

    Besides the issues with purchasing content, much content is available to view free, if you live in the right place. How is it viable for the industry to 'give away' content in return for advertising revenue, and expect others to purchase (if possible!) the same content.
  • Agree!

    Not to mention the ridiculous time difference between shows released overseas and here in Australia.

    Dr Who was aired on Christmas Eve in the UK on the BBC, and available on torrents the next day.

    It's not being shown on the ABC until mid Feb here.

    This type of thing is inexcusable in this day and age!

    We can grab things immediately online so why should we be forced to adhere to their ridiculous timeframes governed by nothing but arbitrary "ratings" periods and the like.

    The media industry needs to recognise consumers are working on a completely different level to how we were just 15 years ago, and need to stop fighting us, forcing us into the consumers they want us to be, and instead work towards selling to us as the consumers we are.
  • Ill say something different

    My guess is Conroy has a pretty good understanding of his portfolio and is merely stalling for time. Remember we are involved in secret negotiations for an international copyright treaty which I am sure will have all sorts of draconion provisions if we dont bow low enough to our US masters. Why would Conroy want to shoot himself in the foot by legislating now when he can just wait for Australia to be -brought into line- with international standards as we are collectively sold out in the treaty.