Australian ISPs Still Rejects Idea of Becoming Copyright Police

Trying for force ISPs into becoming copyright police seems to be a hot trend for the copyright industry these days.

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

Then again, ISPs rarely are willing to go for the idea of solving another industries problem and Australia is no exception.

There’s a report from ABC Australia which highlights an ongoing issue in Australia where anti-piracy outfits and the copyright industry are trying to get ISPs to become copyright police. The Australian ISPs aren’t budging on their firm “no” response.

This time, the calls to get ISPs to become copyright police comes from Australian anti-piracy outfit AFACT (Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft) Australians may know these demands have been going on for some time now, but the circumstances internationally have changed. In Britain, the British ISPs caved to pressure and agreed to become copyright police. Details of that deal aren’t yet fully known. No doubt this has gotten AFACT to redouble their efforts to pressure ISPs to change their mind.

Unfortunately for AFACT, they are working against ISPs who are aware of what filtering technology is not capable of doing. It was only a few days ago that a local study pointed out that ISP level filtering technology does not adequately work on file-sharing protocols. The technology has been tested and retested and still comes out with the same results – they don’t work.

Filtering technology, though, isn’t the only option on the table, but Australian ISPs aren’t exactly willing to use the other possible methods either. From the report:

Peter Coroneos from the Internet Industry Association says ISPs have a number of concerns about AFACT’s proposals.

“The precedent that this creates for ISPs in other areas, and [also] the fact that disconnecting people from the internet is not – in our view – a proportionate response to copyright infringement,” he said.

“ISPs, I think quite legitimately, argue that it’s only when a court pronounces that an infringement has occurred that regard should be had for the complaint,” [Mr Coroneos] said.

“But for someone to simply compile lists of IP addresses, fire them off to ISPs on a weekly basis and expect action to be taken on that basis is really going beyond what even the copyright law in Australia would require.”

Judging by this, Australian ISPs seem satisfied of the whole idea of ‘come back with a warrant, then we’ll talk’. Seems like a reasonable argument that one industry shouldn’t be responsible for another industries problems. Should the electric industry deal with the problems of the candle industry?

It’s worth noting that the copyright industry demanding that ISPs should be the copyright police isn’t unique in Australia in recent times. In the United States, the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) is hoping that ISPs in the US will also become copyright police. That was after British ISPs caved to pressure and France pressuring Europe to follow similar action.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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