Friday, October 14, 2011

UPDATED: Aus AG calls for submissions on disclosing user identities

ZDNet and the Australian Pirate Party are reporting on a new proposal from the Australian Attorney General that would see a streamlined approach implemented for copyright owners to seek the disclosure of users identities for the purpose of copyright enforcement, most likely leading to a graduated response scheme.

Submissions are open until 22 November 2011 and I urge all readers to write in and oppose replacing the current system of court orders with basic judicial oversight in the disclosure of IP account holders details. The new system, which would replace the need to establish the probability of liability, will simply allow copyright holders to approach the court with the IP address of the user and a search report suggesting that they downloaded a file. Disclosure would be allowed on that basis.

It has been shown time and again that these investigation methods are flawed and in essence this proposal removes any need to establish actual infringement by removing the onus on the copyright holder to show probability. In the USA elderly citizens without file sharing software and even printers have been accused of copyright infringement with the investigation process being faulty.

The six page document, available here, suggests that the term 'carriage service provider' under the Telecommunications Act be expanded and that copyright Safe Harbours establish incentives for ISPs to co-operate with copyright holders.

This is a bad deal for the Australian public with need for court orders for the disclosure of private information being a basic human right. Write in now and show your opposition to the proposed changes. This is also a bad deal for ISPs who, despite having their costs met under the scheme, will be forced into the middle between copyright holders and users and be overwhelmed with the work of providing records to anyone who asks.

UPDATE: Apparently the AGs Department accidentally published a draft and the real document which has now been published does not call for a streamlined disclosure process... still worth a read and making a submission. You can find the updated document here.

Further Information
Australian Attorney General Department, Revising The Scope of the Copyright 'Safe Harbour Scheme; & the Process of seeking ISP Subscriber Details in Copyright Infringement Matters:Consultation Paper (October 2011) <$file/Revising+the+scope.pdf > at 14 October 2011

ZDNet, Govt considers 'streamlined' piracy policy (14 October 2011) < > at 14 October 2011

Delimiter, Govt redacts ISP anti-piracy consultation text (17 October 2011) <> at 18 October 2011

Attorney Generals Department, Revising the Scope of the Copyright Safe Harbour Scheme (October 2011) < > at 18 October 2011

No comments: