iiNet calls for piracy mediator

iiNet calls for piracy mediator

Summary: In the wake of its recent victory against the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft in the Federal Court, iiNet has called for an independent third party to police internet copyright infringement.

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In the wake of its recent victory against the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft in the Federal Court, iiNet has called for an independent third party to police internet copyright infringement.

In a white paper, entitled Encouraging Legitimate use of On-line Content (PDF) released this afternoon, iiNet laid out a proposal that would see copyright owners investigate alleged breaches of copyright over the internet using methods similar to those used by AFACT to determine breaches in the iiNet case. These content owners would then provide the results of their research to an independent body that would assess whether the evidence provided was credible enough to follow up with the internet service provider (ISP). If the evidence met the body's requirements, the ISP would provide the contact information of the alleged infringer to the body, which could issue notices or seek penalties for repeat infringers.

iiNet's proposed model

iiNet's proposed model for mediating piracy (Credit: iiNet)

iiNet proposed that since internet access is increasingly seen as a human right, these penalties should not include the total disconnection of an internet service. It used an analogy to back itself up, saying that a person found to have been caught speeding, say, once is not denied all access to transportation and proposed a similar system to that used for drivers where fines and demerit points are doled out to copyright infringers. Repeat offences may lead to the person's access being temporarily restricted under the proposal.

"iiNet has developed a model which addresses ISP concerns but one we think remains attractive to all participants, including the sustainable strategy of an impartial referee for the resolution of disputes and the issue of penalties for offenders," iiNet CEO Michael Malone said in a statement. "We believe that an independent umpire is the only way we can ensure natural justice and protect customer privacy, while allowing copyright owners their rights to pursue alleged infringers."

The funding for the independent body would be provided by the copyright holder, according to iiNet's proposal, with the costs for maintaining IP addresses and customer records falling to the ISPs.

Late last month, the full bench of the Federal Court dismissed AFACT's appeal of Justice Cowdroy's ruling that iiNet had not authorised its users to infringe copyright via sharing files with peer-to-peer technology.

Copyright experts agreed at the time that Justice Emmett's ruling paved the way for copyright holders to compel ISPs to act on notices of their users' copyright infringement.

Last week the Internet Industry Association announced it would immediately begin working on a new industry code of practice to deal with piracy.

Malone said the simplest way to reduce piracy would be for the studios to make their content more easily available and at a lower cost.

"People are crying out to access the studios' materials, so much so some are prepared to steal it," he said. "A more effective approach would be for the studios to make their content more readily and cheaply available online."

Topics: Piracy, Government AU, Security, Telcos

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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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3 comments
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  • My first thought was that April the first must have come early.

    And then I wondered how independent the referee body could really be under this proposal. With the content corporations controlling the purse strings (and probably therefore wanting to have the right to veto appointments), it might be courageous to think that the required level of independence could be maintained.
    gnome-8be8a
  • A waste of time & effort!
    Still ain't gonna convince me to purchase an overpriced, DMR restricted DVD ever again.
    IMO many releases nowadays consist of little more than overdone special effects & minimal plot so the ability to download & preview an offering is lost.
    Will instead wait to view it when released to FT Air TV...pity, cause by then If I really enjoyed that offering it's gone from the cinemas so they lose my custom there as well.
    grump3
  • An "indpendent" body? yeah, right!

    I have been searching for a movie that is in the Public Domain, and all I can find are torrent links. Of half a dozen, none of them have connected me to a seed. Yet on at least half the sites visited there is the offer to download a torrent client that "keeps you anonymous" via encryption, meaning that an ISP will be unable to distinguish a torrent packet from an HTTPS packet.

    "Malone said the simplest way to reduce piracy would be for the studios to make their content more easily available and at a lower cost."

    Exactly. It costs less than 50c to stamp a disc. So let's see CDs marketed at $5ea and DVDs at $10, and Blu-Rays at $15, and let's see a PUBLIC REGISTER of what percentage is going back to the artists. This will lead to a higher turnover, stimulating the entire economy, and significantly reduce the cost advantages of "piracy".

    I still say that they should be chasing the commercial pirates who are knowingly selling counterfeit items to unsuspecting legitimate purchasers.
    Treknology