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Australian Government's Leaked Proposal to Force ISPs to Monitor Copyright Infringement

July 30, 2014
A discussion paper from the Australian Government titled "Online Copyright Infringement" leaked a few days ago. The paper included proposals to amend Australian copyright law and force ISPs to monitor copyright infringment. Under the proposal, ISPs may be requested to help to prevent Australians from infringing copyright by blocking peer-to-peer traffic, slowing down internet connections, passing on warnings from industry groups, and handing over subscriber details to copyright owners.
 
Additional coverage of the Australian anti-piracy proposal is available here. In this commentary, Nicolas Suzor and Alex Button-Sloan from the Faculty of Law of Queensland University of Technology noted that the "leaked anti-piracy proposal is unrealistic." They stressed that "similar schemes have been tried around the world, but there is little evidence they actually work to reduce copyright infringement." Actually, the proposal does nothing to address the problem that Australian users are not treated fairly by copyright industries, which should, first of all, "provide better, cheaper, and more convenient legal ways for consumers to pay for access." Suzor and Button-Sloan highlighted that the proposed measures may have unintended consequences. Requiring ISPs to serve as copyright police may (1) "raise the price of internet access in Australia, as ISPs will pass on the increased costs of monitoring and enforcing copyright," (2) remove "the safeguards that our courts provide in ensuring the law is applied fairly,"  and (3) "create a strong incentive for ISPs to agree to rightsholder demands to protect their interests." 
 
I agree with each of the arguments made by Suzor and Button-Sloan. If ever implemented, this proposal would trample heavily on users' rights. 
This article was originally published at the CIS Blog Australian Government's Leaked Proposal to Force ISPs to Monitor Copyright Infringement
Date published: July 30, 2014
Country
Australia
Topic, claim, or defense
Copyright