Australian Screen Association backs piracy legislation

Neil Gane, Managing Director of the Australian Screen Association, has declared the body’s support for the legislative approach to combating content piracy proposed by Senator George Brandis, Australia’s Federal Attorney-General.

Writing for Australian website Techly, Gane notes that the creative communities have worked hard to provide safe, secure and fair-priced online distribution sites and these are the sites where most people choose to access their commercial entertainment content from. “However there are a number of rogue websites which illegally disseminate vast amounts of creative works – movies, television shows, music and games – without the permission of the content creator or rights holder,” he claims.

“Almost every rogue website is owned and operated for illegal profit and these profits are predominately generated by subscription or by advertising – whether from banner adverts or from pop-ups and pop-unders which are launched when a link on the rogue website is clicked,” he advises.

“Right now there is no efficient or practical way to protect creative content online should criminals located outside of the country illegally monetise this content without the creator’s authorisation. The creative industry need access to an efficient and proportionate legal processes so their work can be protected. As such, the Australian Screen Association fully supports the measures proposed by Senator Brandis,” he declares.
“The judicial process enabling the creative industry to seek injunctive relief against identified rogue sites without any need for issues of liability to be faced by ISPs for blocking the identified sites has been proven to be an effective technical solution. Such no-fault injunction legislation is currently present in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Russia, Sweden, Spain and the UK,” he observes.

“Contrary to some of the rhetoric and misinformation, injunctive relief legislation is not a form of censorship or a restriction on free speech. Injunctive relief is a court process allowing the operators of a rogue website every opportunity to have legal representation and present their argument to the court,” he counsels .

“The reality is that the operators of rogue websites are not in the business to promote innovation or freedom of speech, nor are they providing their services to protect the freedom of the Internet. Those behind rogue websites are only in it for the money, and unauthorised copyright content is their means to this illegal monetisation,” he contends.

Gane says the ASA is also supportive of Senator Brandis’s recommendations for an educational focused graduated response scheme, advising that contrary to much misinformation, such educational schemes have proven to be effective. The French Government, commenting on HADOPI legislation noted: “Benchmarking studies covering all of the sources available shows a clear downward trend in illegal P2P downloads”.

Separately, an independent study found that public awareness of HADOPI resulted in:
a) iTunes song sales in France to increase 22.5 per cent above the sales increase of a control group of five European countries;
b) a 25 per cent increase in iTunes album unit sales above the change in the control group; and
c) The impact was greater in more heavily infringed genres like hip hop, as opposed to jazz, and so could be directly attributed to the HADOPI.
Contrary to the misinformed rhetoric of the Australian Pirate Party, HADOPI is still a functional graduated response system operating in France. Modifications to the legislation removed termination as a sanction – but certainly did not repeal the entirety of the legislation.
In the United States, constructive discussion between the movie and music industry and the five major ISPs, following consultation with consumer groups, resulted in an effective and proportionate graduated response framework being voluntarily agreed upon and co-funded.
The Copyright Alert System involves a series of copyright alert notices, which allows for enhanced consumer awareness and to alert them of unauthorised activity that has taken place using their Internet accounts.

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