Author's Opinion

The views in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of iTWire.

Have your say and comment below.

Monday, 22 June 2015 20:08

Anti-piracy bill passed by Parliament of corporations, Foxtel ecstatic Featured


The Australian Parliament has once again ignored the will of the people, giving bipartisan support and safe passage through the Senate of a highly unpopular piece of legislation which serves only the interests of large corporations. Cable provider Foxtel - jointly owned by Telstra and News Corporation - is cooing in delight at the news that its overpriced turf has been protected.

The Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill is not about combating piracy but protecting an obsolete business model at the expense of consumers. The Bill is about allowing multinational corporations and their vassals like Foxtel to continue fleecing consumers the world over by denying them ready access to reasonably priced content that the Internet makes possible.

Foxtel today congratulated the Government and Opposition for “coming together to help fight the scourge of online piracy.”

As Foxtel says in its statement: “The Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015 will give copyright owners and licensees the ability to seek injunctions to block access to overseas-based sites that steal content and profit from selling advertising around it.”

But, as many of us understand, it’s not about that at all is it?

This sordid piece of legislation is about blocking access to overseas based sites - particularly in the US - that sell content legitimately in their own markets for reasonable prices. Sites such as Netflix US and Hulu, which copyright holders want to deny access to Australians because they believe we can afford to pay more than a fair market price.

Foxtel Chief Executive, Richard Freudenstein said, “We are pleased that the Government and Opposition have taken strong action to combat online piracy. They recognise that, not only is piracy theft and therefore morally wrong, it is harmful to Australia’s creative communities and to businesses that employ hundreds of thousands of Australians.

“These offshore sites are not operated by noble spirits fighting for the freedom of the internet, they are run by criminals who profit from stealing other people’s creative endeavours.

“This Bill is modelled on legislation that works effectively in other jurisdictions such as the UK, Europe and Singapore. There have been wild claims that it will create an “internet filter”, “break” the internet or prevent legitimate uses of the internet. International experience shows that this is simply nonsense and fear mongering – last time I looked the UK had a perfectly well functioning internet.”

This is sheer nonsense. The UK, with a surveillance camera on every corner, indeed has as repressive Internet legislation as Australia - and its now largely bipartisan two party political system is as morally bankrupt and as broken as ours.

“This Bill is part of a series of measures being put in place by government and industry to educate the public about the problems created by online piracy and where they can find legitimate ways to get access to the content they love,” Mr Freudenstein concluded in his statement.

The sheer swaggering arrogance in this statement is breathtaking. The assumption that consumers need to be educated by government and corporations about the Internet and content is beyond the pale. From what I remember, government is supposed to represent and act in the interests of the public not industry.

Finally, the mainstream media has a lot to answer for in this affair - not the journalists who generally do their best to report the issues but the corporate owners and their management lackeys who do their best to filter, under-report and stifle open debate so that the political and corporate classes can perpetrate outrages such as this.

For as many of us realise, the mainstream media in Australia, as is the case elsewhere, is in the hands of just a few large corporations. What’s more, in many cases, the corporate media and content providers are one and the same.

When a disruptive technology such as the Internet makes a business model obsolete to advantage of the public, it is a duty of government as a representative of the public to facilitate the market disruptor not hold it back so that corporations can protect their crumbling fiefdoms - and it is inevitable that like the final decadent days of Rome they will eventually crumble.



Recently iTWire remodelled and relaunched how we approach "Sponsored Content" and this is now referred to as "Promotional News and Content”.

This repositioning of our promotional stories has come about due to customer focus groups and their feedback from PR firms, bloggers and advertising firms.

Your Promotional story will be prominently displayed on the Home Page.

We will also provide you with a second post that will be displayed on every page on the right hand side for at least 6 weeks and also it will appear for 4 weeks in the newsletter every day that goes to 75,000 readers twice daily.


talentCRU FREE WEBINAR INVITE - Cybersecurity in COVID-19 times and beyond

With the mass transition to remote working, our businesses are becoming highly dependent on the Internet.

So, it’s no surprise that we’ve seen an increase in cyberattacks.

However, what’s more concerning is that just 51% of technology professionals are highly confident that their cybersecurity teams are able to detect and respond to these threats.

Join us for this free online roundtable where our experts discuss key cybersecurity issues IT leaders are facing during the pandemic, and the challenges that will likely emerge in the coming years.


Stan Beer


Stan Beer co-founded iTWire in 2005. With 30 plus years of experience working in IT and Australian technology media, Beer has published articles in most of the IT publications that have mattered, including the AFR, The Australian, SMH, The Age, as well as a multitude of trade publications.




Recent Comments