Australian A-G resumes anti-piracy fight

Australia’s new conservative government is seeking to restart anti-piracy initiatives that stalled following a failure of ISPs and content owners to agree a common approach, leading to the withdrawal of leading ISP iiNet from an online copyright infringement notice trial in December 2012.

It is understood that the Attorney-General’s Department has sent letters to the nation’s top telcos and content creators seeking their participation in a series of industry round tables to resolve the online piracy issue as a matter of urgency. New Attorney-General George Brandis is understood to have made copyright piracy a priority.

Leading daily newspaper The Australian suggests that the government is exploring tough new measures to curb the illegal downloading of copyright material, including a new scheme that may allow movie studios to seek injunctions to block websites distributing pirated material.

There would be a renewed focus on the supply side of piracy, with the intention that online piracy could be affected by disabling access to websites that facilitate illegal downloads.

The Communications Alliance, a lobby group representing Australia’s top telcos, has expressed a willingness to recommence talks, but has warned that the costs of implementing a solution needed to be addressed.

“It’s mystifying that if your industry is losing a billion a year because of piracy, as the film studios say, then why wouldn’t you make a small investment to protect that,” noted Communications Alliance CEO John Stanton, who added that in the past, proposals had been put on the table that hadn’t been taken up.


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