Advanced Television

Australian creatives welcome copyright amendments

October 18, 2018

By Colin Mann

Creative Content Australia (CCA), an industry organisation committed to raising awareness about the value of copyright and the impact of content theft on the screen industries, has welcomed the introduction of copyright legislation amendments that protect the work of local and global screen content creators.

The Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2018, introduced in the House of Representatives on October 18th, will extend site blocks of infringing websites to proxies and mirrors that are found to be primarily engaged in facilitating access to copyright-infringing content.

According to the CCA, the requirement for search engines to support efforts to block pirate sites is a very welcome modification.

CCA’s 2018 research study shows that search engines are the primary way for people to find pirate content sites, even when they were not necessarily seeking infringing content. Fifty per cent of piracy searches use auto-complete suggestions to find suitable links to access illegal content.

Graham Burke AO, Chairman of Creative Content Australia, commended the Minister for Communications, Senator Fifield for taking such direct and targeted action that will protect Australian jobs, way of life and tax paying companies.

“The biggest losers,” says Burke, “are the pirates in undisclosed locations whose business model is totally about scamming people by stealing their credit details, blocking and infecting computers with viruses.”

According to CCA Executive Director Lori Flekser, while previous site blocking legislation had shut the ‘front door’ access to copyright infringing content, search engines consistently provided ‘back door’ access by promoting proxy and mirror sites.

Site blocking in Australia has reduced Australian usage of websites targeted by the blocking orders by 53.4 per cent since December 2016, when the blocking regime began. Usage decreased for each blocking wave implemented in the country.

The CCA says that while illegal content continues to be accessed on a massive scale, there is no room for complacency. “The amendments introduced today, however, are a welcome relief to the hundreds of thousands of Australians who earn their livelihood from the production, distribution and exhibition of creative content,” it concludes.

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