Oz Pirate Party slams 'secret' IP talks

Oz Pirate Party slams 'secret' IP talks

Summary: The newly formed Australian Pirate Party came out swinging yesterday with a release criticising the international discussions currently being held in Korea to cement an Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.

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TOPICS: Legal
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The newly formed Australian Pirate Party came out swinging yesterday with a release criticising the international discussions currently being held in Korea to cement an Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.

David Crafti
(Credit: Pirate Party)

These discussions had their roots back in 2006 when the US and Japan floated the idea of a new treaty to help build joint intellectual property rules to fight counterfeiting and piracy. June 2008 saw Australia included along with other countries.

The most recent round of discussions started this week in Seoul and was set to deal with "enforcement in the digital environment". Reports based on leaked information say that the discussions are focusing on issues such as making safe harbour for internet service providers contingent on deterring users storing and transmitting content that infringes intellectual property. Deterrents could take the form of terminating subscribers based on a three-strikes scheme.

The discussions have until now, apart from leaks, remained secret, with the Australian government giving as a reason that it is "accepted practice during trade negotiations among sovereign states to not share negotiation texts with the public at large, particularly at earlier stages of the negotiation", while the US government quotes national security. Parties who saw documents were reportedly required to sign non-disclosure agreements.

The Australian Pirate Party, formed last September to champion copyright, free speech and privacy issues, decried the discussions and their secrecy. "It is an alarming development, we need people to speak up and make it known to the Australian government that this is atrocious. Secret negotiations, with no transparent public consultation for a treaty that threatens to further compromise our civil liberties and expand the already damaging and draconian copyright monopoly is unacceptable." David Crafti, Pirate Party Australia president, said in a statement.

The secrecy and the treaty, which would be used to give a monopoly to an innovator and not to foster innovation were tyrannical, he said.

Another Pirate Party spokesperson, Rodney Serkowski, said that the talks were being conducted in complete disregard for civil liberties. "Any move to disconnect any person from the internet because they are partaking in cultural exchange by sharing privately and non-commercially is offensive. We completely reject any plan to make carriage service providers de facto copyright cops. ISPs should be given no right or responsibility to snoop through private communication. We wouldn't tolerate it with Australia Post, so we shouldn't tolerate it with our internet connections," he said.

Topic: Legal

Suzanne Tindal

About Suzanne Tindal

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at ZDNet.com.au 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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Talkback

23 comments
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  • Hang on...

    "...while the US government quotes national security."

    So copyright infringement is now regarded as being on par with terrorism? I'm going to need a moment to let that sink in...
    anonymous
  • Nah..

    It's regarded as being dangerous for the American people to know what their government is doing. National security = stopping the sh*t from hitting the fan / stopping protests.
    anonymous
  • AP does it for Customs

    "We wouldn't tolerate it with Australia Post, so we shouldn't tolerate it with our internet connections," he said.

    Que? AP do it for Customs when being sent stuff from overseas!
    anonymous
  • Pirate Party - criminal apologists using 1984 double-think

    "Any move to disconnect any person from the internet because they are partaking in cultural exchange by sharing privately and non-commercially is offensive."

    It is not unlike giving away stolen goods - you are still doing it illegally. 'Non-commercial' should not be a reason for exclusion - it is still proactively facilitating restraint of trade.

    Please, stop pretending that just because it is electronic doesn't mean it should be free from the constraints imposed upon physical goods.
    anonymous
  • The pirate party is a little confused

    The things being downloaded by torrents are games/software, movies, music and a few things that should be (most notably software patches).

    Personally I don't give a crap about the music industry, that doesn't need money (in my opinion).

    But if people want big flashy blockbuster movies, decent stuff on TV (not repeats) and high quality games/software they should recognise it takes money and serious man hours to make them. I believe it is something like 95% of games do not make a commercial profit. By using torrents you are just decreasing competition in the game sector and limiting the types of games on offer. Of course the game industry won't die, logic dictates that the industry will move to online games where you pay per month to play online or you buy items...btw those will end up costing you a lot more money in the end. Free to air TV will either become semi-charitable organisations or be the first and only death by file sharing.

    I suppose then the question is what can be done about illegal file sharing. I think the police should raid homes (not necessarily with guns drawn!) and inspect computers and storage devices for illegal downloads. Charge them 10 times what it costs to buy or 25 times what it cost to buy if they tried to hide the storage device. 30% of the money could go to the developers, 70% to the police.

    As soon as the operation gets big enough for people to think there is a 5-10% chance of being caught, they won't do it!! Of course there would need to be a ceiling of $5-10 grand otherwise it would be too harsh and never acted on. People who have been caught in the past should get a repeat visit if they are suspected of doing it again.

    I know it is not the best use of police time, but i'm sure it would pay for raise and increased recruitment! Probably would be good if that division of the police force had something to check officers had nothing on their work computers too! As for raiding innocent people’s houses, it wouldn’t be too hard to make a list of highly likely suspects!
    anonymous
  • Raiding homes...

    You, good sir, are an idiot.
    anonymous
  • Raiding homes

    LOL wow. I cannot even believe you suggested that.

    See the majority like to live in a world without the government peaking in every door and window. You on the other hand, have serious issues with the world around you. You support such draconian measures just to make big media corps happy?

    just so you might get some sort of entertainment that maybe better than the current stuff that breaks new box office records every year?

    Just so you can support the current middle man scenario of big record labels while hundreds of new artists are by passing them by using the internet for their own marketing?

    Seriously, your post is offensive to any level headed australian.
    anonymous
  • From America

    This is wrong on so many levels, and to think that our government is coming up with these ideas to impose on the world is sickening. Let the market decide what's best in these cases instead of incompetent governments who hide in secrecy.

    This is the problem we all see where governments are trying so hard to stay in control of the people and are scared of the innovation that would come in an open free market society. I hope they start a Pirate Party in the U.S. and wreak havoc on the RIAA and MPAA. Would be hilarious and get the votes of many.
    anonymous
  • Profit!

    "But if people want big flashy blockbuster movies, decent stuff on TV (not repeats) and high quality games/software they should recognise it takes money and serious man hours to make them"

    Income statement for village roadshow, 2008/2009 shows a profit of $32.35 million. Now we all acknowledge this wasn't a good year. Income statement for 2007/2008 shows a profit of $256.882 million. A little better....

    plus total equity just shy of a billion dollars. that's equity, so it includes liabilities.

    They've got the money.

    These figures are publicly available on http://www.villageroadshow.com.au

    it's not like these guys are starving because of piracy. And if they changed their business models so they where not gouging people so bad, people wouldn't be forced to look for alternatives.

    There is an economic concept which is essentially "charge what the market can bear". when you exceed that point, you loose sales. This is essentially what entertainment companies have done. The product is overpriced and the market is shifting to piracy. The only problem is, eliminating piracy wont bring back the customers. These kids cant afford that kind of regular outlay of cash.

    Here's a concept - streaming media on demand. let me watch or listen to whatever i want, when i want, and stream ads with it. I wont need to download and store pirated material. it's the free to air model, and it worked well until paid services destroyed its revenue base. if the show is popular, and streamed worldwide, those ad slots will be worth a fortune. the technology is available to do this right now. the mindset isnt.
    anonymous
  • AP doesn't do it for customs

    No, the Australian Customs Service is the only organisation authorised to open packages and check for illegal material. In fact, AP often calls in Customs to check parcels deemed too risky to send to the airport for shipping.
    anonymous
  • The Answer!

    What he said:

    HI BIG COMPANY...
    Stop fucking ripping us off, and we will stop ripping you off.

    Here's a concept - streaming media on demand. let me watch or listen to whatever i want, when i want, and stream ads with it. I wont need to download and store pirated material. it's the free to air model, and it worked well until paid services destroyed its revenue base. if the show is popular, and streamed worldwide, those ad slots will be worth a fortune. the technology is available to do this right now. the mindset isnt.
    anonymous
  • Piracy Copyright etc

    I think the movie/music industry just hasn't embraced the new technologies as they should. for them its just too fast and are stuck in the age of hard copies ie go to video store and rent a dvd. they can't handle that kids today live in a totally different format.
    anonymous
  • Other side of the coin...

    A lot of kids today do not respect that people's time has to be paid for!
    anonymous
  • Re: other Side of the Coin.

    Could be they don't like being dictated to on what, where & how they are being forced to use this overpriced media either!
    Region coding, locked players with limited re-sets, Sony's secret spyware, copy protected disks that prevent backups & stop owners from creating their own music compilations...etc...etc.
    Seems to me the industry has shot itself in the foot! Pirated versions of that same media is readily available without all those annoying Big Brother restrictions.
    I now refuse to buy media that I can't use to suit my personal entertainment requirements. Full Stop!
    anonymous
  • Raiding homes?

    Dear moron,

    You can send your cops any time you want...Those guys can hardly write their own names, let alone find illegal content in obsolete, local storage devices.

    I feel so sorry for you moronic, regurgitated blurb that I am going to tell you a little secret:
    I keep all my terabytes of illegal stuff stored somewhere in the "cloud" if you know what I mean...which I doubt very much!

    And guess what, LOL, the entities storing my illegal content are mostly the same entities I have been (according to you) ripping off...

    You people are totally dreaming if you think you can catch us...

    And yes please, get the ISPs to police the internet...That is a brilliant idea that will work for sure...
    considering they make a living by selling people TBs of download allowances.

    You know what, until people with your level of knowledge are bullshitting around with stuff they do not have a clue about, we will happily keep on ripping the big media corporations off without even having to hide...you and them are so blinded by your total ignorance, you cannot even see an inch from your own noses...

    What bothers me most in all this is that you are taking away all the excitement of committing a digital act of piracy because it is like stealing from a blind child.

    Captain Sparrow
    anonymous
  • Private vs Corporate

    When will people realize that the average "private" download is a sale the Corporation was never going to get in the first place?

    Why is an individual targeted when the material being downloaded is no longer available in any commercial format?

    How many people have downloaded something and then said, "Hey, that's pretty good. I'll go out and by the whole set of them." It worked for the Arctic Monkeys.

    A friend complained to me that he had gone out and bought an entire series on DVD to discover that the episode arc that he really wanted was NOT included! There's just a hole in the episode list! Do I dob him in for piracy because he may decide to go looking for downloads of those missing episodes?

    Instead of targeting the individuals the way that Kazaa was destroyed, why don't the BIG companies go after the people who support these sites with their advertising? If Snipe's Sports Shoes and Lady Lyn's Lolly-pops are advertizing on a "share site" then go after THEM. Dry up the advertising funds and the sites will quickly disappear.
    anonymous
  • What about when the shoe is on the Other Foot?

    Why am I paying a fortune for Cable TV, when I don't view 95% of the content, and I'm still PAYING for the "privilege" of unwanted advertising?
    anonymous
  • Oz Pirate Party slams 'secret' IP talks

    So they are going to try and make ISPs net cops such as is being tested against IINET in court now, hey?

    If I wanted my ISP to inspect everything I sent over the net - or received - then I would ask them to do so. This is similar to telling the Post Office to inspect every article that goes through them. What are we? Communist China? Iran?

    Well, the obvious answer to this will make someone a lot of money - every single thing that gets sent will have an encryption prog both ends (Ala PGP) and then they wont really be able to see WHAT is going on without decrypting. If they start doing that, we change keys and make it harder again.

    Ultimately the Govts are asking too much and what is the driving force behind it all that is making these Govts do this? Mostly USA's laws and their ARIA cops. Maybe it is about time for the Govts of the world to BE Govts and tell the Yanks we arent interested.
    anonymous
  • Customs Officers would not know s**t from clay

    I imported a cattle probe from US, only to have Customs declare it a "Taser", and ask me to declare why i needed it, and that the matter was being reported.

    I rang the appended Telephone number the following day, was asked the number on the letter, the person on the other end of the Phone went to look at the item, came back and apologised, and told me not to take any notice of the letter, as he would put it back in the mail.

    Is this not a matter of some moron not knowing what he is being paid for?
    anonymous
  • Laws, what they're about.

    Laws are designed to protect the interests of all its citizens, including corporations. The issues is as soon as the tape deck was invented and our capability for sharing culture (music, images, LOLcats) those laws became untenable.

    What industries have been doing for hundreds of years is control distribution, not create anything. Their interests lie in forcing us to get content the way they want us to. Copyright law protects the distributor, not the artists and citizens. With the Internet their control is diminished and creativity has exploded, YouTube is a prime example of online distribution. The Internet allows us to share knowledge, including music.

    My question: Is controlling distribution for a few dollars profit worth losing our rights as citizens to see, read watch and share what we want? Laws change all the time, right now they're heading towards more control and less freedom. If everyone does it, it can't be made illegal.
    anonymous