ISPs propose copyright-notice scheme

ISPs propose copyright-notice scheme

Summary: The Communications Alliance and five large Australian internet service providers (ISPs) have today taken the wraps off a proposed process to stop people from downloading pirated content using their services.


The Communications Alliance and five large Australian internet service providers (ISPs) have today taken the wraps off a proposed process to stop people from downloading pirated content using their services.

The proposal comes from discussions held throughout the year between ISPs, the federal government and rights holders in the movie, music, software, gaming and publishing industries. Telstra BigPond, Optus, iiNet, iPrimus, Internode, AAPT, Ericsson and the Internet Industry Association (IIA) were involved with the Communications Alliance on the development of the scheme.

The proposed process involves sending "education" and warning notices to customers whose accounts have been undertaking activity that might infringe copyright. The scheme wouldn't terminate internet accounts, and allows customers to appeal notices, if they think there is no illegal activity happening on the account.

Within 14 days of a potential infringement being detected, the rights holder could send a copyright-infringement notice to an ISP under the scheme, stating the copyrighted work that was involved, the time it was infringed upon and the IP address involved. The ISP would then try to match that IP address to a customer, and within 14 days would either tell the rights holder that it couldn't match the IP address, or send an education notice to the customer.

The education notice would say that an infringement notice has been received, and that the account may be infringing on copyright by improperly accessing content. It would say where the user could find information about piracy and how to legally source content, and would warn that if the account continued to breach copyright, the rights holder could take further action.

The customer has 21 days to ponder the notice or appeal it to an Industry Copyright Panel. After that time, if another infringement notice comes through from the rights holder for the same IP address, the ISP would send a warning notice to the account holder. Again, there would be a grace period of 21 days after the account holder receives the notice before any further action could be taken.

Once three warning notices have been sent, if the rights holder sends through another infringement notice for the same IP address, the ISP would send a "discovery notice", saying that the account holder has received one education notice and three warning notices and hasn't stopped infringing, and that the ISP would tell the rights holder after a 21-day grace period.

The rights holder could then apply for access to the account holder's details by applying for a preliminary discovery or subpoena application so that the rights holder could take action, with which the ISP has to comply.

If an ISP receives no copyright notices for an IP address for 12 months, the process starts again from the beginning, with an education notice.

Any rights holder that wants to be part of the scheme would have to pass an accreditation process, whereby its infringement-detection technology and infringement-notice processes would be audited.

It would be trialled by the ISPs for consumer-residential landline customers for a period of 18 months. Since the systems for running such a scheme in the long term would be expensive to set up, the trial will be carried out manually, or using semi-automated processes. Given this, the ISPs won't have to process more than 100 copyright-infringement notices per calendar month. The proposal states that ISPs should be reimbursed for reasonable costs that they incur implementing the system, including training, software design and record keeping.

After the 18 months, the results would be assessed to discover whether it's been effective by seeing whether — as has happened in other countries — most people stopped infringing after their first notice. The proposal was not final, with the discussion paper intended to spark debate. Issues for discussion include how to fairly apportion the costs for operating the scheme, and the creation of the industry panel for dealing with appeals.

"We believe the Notice Scheme can greatly reduce online copyright infringement in Australia, while protecting consumer rights, educating consumers about how to access legal online content and helping rights holders to protect their rights," Communications Alliance CEO John Stanton said in a statement.

"Equally important is the need for rights holders to ensure that consumers have access to legal and affordable content online, to reduce the motivation to source content in ways that might be illegal."

Topics: IT Priorities, Legal, Piracy, Security, Telcos

Suzanne Tindal

About Suzanne Tindal

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for the site.

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  • Quote "ensure that consumers have access to legal and affordable content online". Where can I legally download a 1080P version of Cowboys and Aliens? It is available on Thepiratebay.
    Also most of the legal downloads are not available on my pc. I cannot use Itunes (do not use windows or Mac). I cannot use Quickflix (there is no version of silverlight for Ubuntu). Also none of these sites have 1080p versions.

    The copyright owners have a bit to do before the above quote is true.
  • Too complex and will not work.
  • I believe I saw an article recently which indicated that European ISPs are not to interfere with the content they provide, any more than Australia Post interferes with the content of my mail. When did Australia lose sight of the principle involved? Or can you now just buy any "justice" you can afford under Miss Gillard's government?
  • Can these game company's please get game servers here i have stopped buying ps3 games due to the fact there are no game servers in Australia the ps3 is getting dusty, Having a world of warcraft server in Australia would cut down the number of downloaders in this country or some other forms of entertainment everyone will be to busy gaming to bother about downloading.Im so tired of buying a game and then having no game servers to play the game on or trying to play a game with 500 latency witch is halve a second delay.This is Afact i am now looking for a good add blocker for firefox to block all adds after reading this story, So if anyone knows of a good add blocker let me know in the comments below thanks.Tv is banned now in the household i live we do not want adds anymore.I could not care what new movies are comming out anymore and in all the years of the internet i have never downloaded a movie if i have to live in a world with all these rules i do not want to be a part of anything anybody is selling sorry im not going out like that.And music really this is Afact the music is really c%ap would not even download the new music if Afact let me rolf now thats Afact.I know this is not the ISP'S faults but now if i have no freedom on the net really paying for 200 gigs a month downloads is to much and i am going to have to downgrade they will have to make rules for this to be fare for everyone there are also a lot of other people on these isp's that are talking about downgrading as well after reading this story whats the use in having 200 gig.See how pirates know about this story before it breaks main stream that's because pirates are ahead of the game no one will know this stuff exist it will be in the bin within 3 weeks of being made unless these company's keep paying mega$$$$$ for advertising it is going to fail.We had a massive data base witch to see anything we liked now that is gone all these movie makers are now in the dark unless you all have stacks of money to throw around for adds that no one will want to watch now that's Afact.No more little johny stumbling onto a torrent or watching youtube of some movie they have never seen and then becoming a fan of it and buying the lot no more anymore our youtubes will die off.Has anyone tryed watching a movie on youtube and it is silent because of copyright well that is how the world is going to be like soon and that's Afact if the movie is silent and i find out what song was playing i do not buy any of that music and thats Afact.Well i have heaps more to say but ile leave it at that for now lolz i feel better now and that's Afact.Afact i have a headache now.
  • A few points:

    1. Can zdnet moderate the last two comments. The grammar alone should be suffice as a justification to ban.

    2. What is the burden of proof for an ISP to act on a complaint of alleged copyright infringement? What is to stop me from making baseless accusation about the IP's addresses that host AFACT's website and mail? In fact if the industry is stupid enough to take this scheme up I would recommend that we all make "allegations" that AFACT is infringing on copyright. Just flood them with the notices this stupid scheme will generate.

    3. The "12 month" period is terrible. In otherwords you get three warnings every 12 months.

    4. I'll be churning to a ISP that is not party to the scheme. With NBN, i'll churn from provider to provider, with impunity. I'll churn away long before I get a notice in the mail.

    5. The other day I brought some movies for the first time in a few years. Why because for a 1080p copy they were $10. What annoyed me is now I have a piece of plastic I have to store. I want the publishers to offer 1080p copies of media for download. Till they do I'll continue to breach copyright, and more so for content that is of a dubious quality. Why should I risk a substantial amount of money to discover if a film is of a quality worth purchasing? And no I won't be hiring a DVD from a shop, scratched piece's of crap that I have to waste time and money returning (or else face a fine).

    6. Who pays for the scheme I wonder?

    7. What will happen with this scheme is that it will push to the front mitigation practices. Sneakernets (wiki it), proxy servers, SSH to hosted servers in other jurisdictions etc. It does not address whatsoever the underlying causes to copyright infringement.

    It won't improve the profit margin for publishers. Content producers won't be paid anymore then they are today. In other words, this will be a massive waste of time and money.
  • Sure we can all sign up and make accusations against AFACT, except as the article states "Any rights holder that wants to be part of the scheme would have to pass an accreditation process, whereby its infringement-detection technology and infringement-notice processes would be audited".

    Did you read the article?
  • Well if these companies stop charging Aussies twice as much as the rest of the world for the same content, i think this would solve alot of the issue, Bluray Australia $30-$40, Bluray Uk $10-$25 MAX AUD. Games Australia $80+ Games US nothing over $50

    lets get realistic. buy movie from uk for 1/4-1/2 the price of Aus retailer and wait 2 weeks, or download it and watch it tonight for free? If i could go buy a brand new bluray for $20 and watch it straight away i would. Instead i pay less than that and wait 1-2weeks for it to be shipped from UK with no postage charges...
  • Do you think you are the spell police lol well i was new to this site and now im gone and will not suport this site at all you think you are cool and aresas a gud spleker.
  • Again something being implemented by people who don't truly understand it, how about making it 'legally' more accessible to buy it online rather than prosecute those who don't.

    It should be as simple as a smartphone app store on your computer, with all content a search away at a reasonable price.
  • Once again, this is going to boil down to the goodwill of the copyright holders to allow their content to be LEGALLY accessible from online sources (and I can already hear "You must be joking, right?"). The US has sites like Netflix, which is a spectacular idea. For a monthly subscription, you can stream movies whenever you want, from any Internet-accessible device (PCs, game consoles, and probably Smart TVs now). But for anywhere outside the US, it's nothing more than a pipe dream.

    Of course, you can use US-based proxy servers to trick these sites into thinking you are in the US, but legitimate ones are rare and probably expensive (if anyone has more reliable info on the matter, let me know), and free ones would be dubious at best (who knows what sort of malware would be present on those systems).