Thursday, 21 May 2015 22:43

Call for less haste on site blocking legislation: Internet Society Featured

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles, Image courtesy of Stuart Miles,

The Internet Society wants the federal government to delay for at least a year its proposed Copyright Legislation forcing ISPs to block access to pirate websites, while undertaking an independent study on the “real extent” of video piracy.

CEO Laurie Patton said the society does not believe that there is sufficient international proof that piracy can be eliminated via government regulation.

The society does say, however, that it supports the need for content to be made available speedily, at reasonable cost and on multiple devices and that the community needs to be educated about the damage piracy does.

"Our concern is that ad hoc government interventions such as the proposed site blocking legislation will not address the problem but will create adverse unintended consequences that are entirely counterproductive and potentially damaging to the Internet," Patton said.

Patton cites reports that in 2013 ASIC "inadvertently" blocked access to around 250,000 innocent websites when attempting to block one particular site it alleged was defrauding people.

"This is the sort of unintended damage that we risk reoccurring if the site blocking legislation goes through.

"Requiring more than 400 ISP's to manually block websites will incur significant costs that will inevitably have to be passed on to consumers by way of increased charges."

According to the society, the first response should be timely release of content. “Internationally this is regarded as the best way to discourage unauthorised access. Here in Australia we have only just seen the introduction of streaming (SVOD) services, so it is too early to be taking the "blunt instrument" approach of site blocking," Patton said

"The Internet Society believes that we should wait for at least a year and have a reputable independent organisation undertake research to see if there is a real problem needing action. In the meantime we should introduce a national public awareness campaign to encourage people to access content via legitimate means".

"We also support the Copyright Notice Scheme Code which is about to be introduced. This is the first step in educating people about piracy."

Under the Copyright Notice Scheme, ISP's will send up to three written warnings to households where downloading of pirated content is alleged to be occurring.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - an iTWire treasure is a mentor and coach who volunteers also a writer and much valued founding partner of iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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