Hollywood Accused For Their Methods Of Fighting Piracy: Australia’s Stance On Copyright Infringement
Filed under: Announcements & Events, Entertainment Industry, File-Sharing Programs, Networks & Services, Legal P2P News & Issues
When it came to defending rights holders and their content, instead of building feasible laws to counter piracy, the movie industry always chose the easy way out, searching for solutions in dangerous legislations such as ACTA/SOPA/PIPA. Australia’s Communications Alliance is not at all happy about it; as a matter of fact, the organization’s CEO John Stanton is criticizing this absence of concern. Here’s what he had to say.
First of all, one should know that Australia’s Communications Alliance is the dominant telecommunications industry body in the country. Their main purpose is to regulate industry-based solutions in a sound manner through programs, events and initiatives. The group is also attempting to make the best out of this digital era, by supervising the industry’s involvement in the National Broadband Network implementation.
John Stanton, the group’s CEO, is unhappy with Hollywood efforts to come up with a co-regulatory solution when it comes to copyright infringement, because, as he believes, the movie industry is not fond of creating a precedent of being fair.
For more than a year and a half, the Attorney General’s Dep. brought together for negotiations various content groups, internet providers, consumer groups, and even the country’s governmental officials in order to come up with industry-based solutions for copyright infringement.
As a result of these debates, internet providers proposed a system based on notifications – in the sense that a suspected of copyright infringement user is to receive a warning. All fine and dandy, until ISPs said the costs should be shared between the industry and rights holders.
Rights holders, as if there’s a surprise in their reaction, were reluctant to the idea of contributing to the proposed scheme. At the Communications Day Summit in Melbourne (which happened two days ago), John Stanton confirmed that rights holders have no intentions of paying up.
“That’s something that is being staunchly resisted. Not because it really doesn’t make sense in an Australian context; I think Hollywood doesn’t want to create a global precedent by doing something reasonable in Australia that they feel might prejudice its interests elsewhere,” he said.
“I think one of the things that is really acting as a barrier is the fact that Hollywood doesn’t really have Australian national interest at heart.”
According to Stanton, rights holders are upset about their defeat in the High Court of Australia against iiNet, a case that made the news for quite a while back then. The case was filed on grounds that iiNet failed to send out notices (provided by the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft) to alleged pirates.
However, he insists that right holders should understand that finding a co-regulatory solution is in their interest.
“An industry-based scheme would provide an effective deterrent to online copyright infringement. A problem that the rights holders say is costing them between AU$2.5 and AU$3 million a day in lost revenue in Australia alone,” he said.
“There ought to be pretty strong incentive to fix this problem. If there was one issue that was costing my industry AU$3 million a day, you can bet your boots that Telstra, Optus, and VHA would be lining up daily at my door to set my pants on fire until I got it sorted.”
The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) made public a statement, explaining their stance on copyright issues. Any notice system, they say, should be fairly scrutinized, and no user should have his or hers account disconnected. Furthermore, as far as privacy is concerned, collecting data must not come into conflict with consumer privacy. AFACT’s notices must not contain erroneous information, and should not contain “an inducement to admit wrongdoing on behalf of the user.”
Last but not least, ACCAN suggests that notices shouldn’t be sent to those who download TV shows or movies that can’t be otherwise found in Australia.
Sounds more than fair, but, unfortunately, it’s not likely that Hollywood’s studios would go for that. It remains to be seen, however, if the MPAA decides to consider Australia’s proposals. Stay tuned!