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Australia Backs Down on Draconian Copyright Laws 113

Posted by Zonk
from the not-such-a-hard-line dept.
AcidAUS writes "The widely-publicized reforms to Australian copyright — which would turn iPod, camera phone and DVD recorder owners into criminals — have been significantly amended. The amendment bill was passed this past Friday, after the changes were put into place. The Labor and Green parties still have problems with the bill as it exists, but the Labor party (at least) wants to let it go based on the fact that it is 'a million times' better than the original proposed legislation." From the article: "Following an outcry by industry bodies and the public, [Attorney-General Philip] Ruddock amended the bill. 'The Government has listened to the Senate Committee and stakeholders and has improved the effectiveness of the reforms,' Mr Ruddock said in a statement. 'The amended reforms make it clear consumers can transfer the music they own onto devices such as iPods and enable the next wave of technology by allowing people to record a TV or radio program on mobile devices to watch it at a more convenient time.' The amendments also removed on-the-spot fines for some copyright offenses, to ensure they didn't 'unintentionally capture harmless activities of ordinary Australians'."
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Australia Backs Down on Draconian Copyright Laws

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Draco? Wow! No wonder they've had problems.

    What other laws has this guy written?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by pedalman (958492)
      No, no, no!! The name is Malfoy; Draco Malfoy.
    • Given the great choice, slavery or death, I'd say the guy was a Draka [wikipedia.org]. OK, the choice is not really death, it's don't share or risk being sued out of your house and savings and having your wages attached so that you will never profit from your earnings again - which is really just two choices of slavery. Oh yeah, if you try to get out of paying the rest of your life, you will be thrown into jail. So, get back to work and don't hum anything loud enough to be heard by your peers.

  • But seeing the close ties that the Howard government has with MPAA type industries (as well as commercial broadcasters) these updated reforms are a great surprise. I personally wouldn't have been surprised to see them go the whole hog and make just about everything illegal.
    • Isn't this what is happening in the US? =p I agree that the world's copyright system is out of date but I have yet to hear of any decent ways to change it. Does any one have any ides or can put me to a site with some good information? ---- http://www.iheartmygeek.com/ [iheartmygeek.com]
      • by Kadin2048 (468275) <[slashdot.kadin] [at] [xoxy.net]> on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @11:27AM (#17114326) Homepage Journal
        In the U.S., the pro-copyright lobby hasn't been quite so audacious as they were trying to be in Australia; here they've been more subtle, and thus have avoided much public controversy. Via the DMCA, they made it illegal to upload DVDs or next-generation audio formats to an iPod (unless you've re-purchased it specifically), and created an artificial distinction completely without precedent between works protected by DRM, and unprotected works. Then they got Congress to extend the term of Copyright, to prevent any of their generations-old horde of cultural IP from leaking out into the public domain.

        The U.S. and Australia have much the same disease, it's just that they seem to have gotten hit with a more virulent form, and thus noticed it; here we seem to have the creeping, cancerlike version, and for the most part are still ignoring it and hoping it'll go away.
        • by cayenne8 (626475)
          "Via the DMCA, they made it illegal to upload DVDs or next-generation audio formats to an iPod (unless you've re-purchased it specifically..."

          Can you point out the parts of that that make it illegal to do what you just mentioned? What audio formats am I prevented from putting on my iPod?

          What prevents me from putting my DVD onto my iPod? I think fair use covers me for backing up my DVD's and watching them where I want to (interoperability).

          I think I'm safe just as long as I don't circulate methods of cir

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by soft_guy (534437)

            "Via the DMCA, they made it illegal to upload DVDs or next-generation audio formats to an iPod (unless you've re-purchased it specifically..."

            Can you point out the parts of that that make it illegal to do what you just mentioned? What audio formats am I prevented from putting on my iPod?

            What prevents me from putting my DVD onto my iPod? I think fair use covers me for backing up my DVD's and watching them where I want to (interoperability).

            I think I'm safe just as long as I don't circulate methods of circumventing CSS. I don't believe anything says I can't use it for personal use....??

            IANAL, but I believe that the DMCA prohibits you from cracking CSS, not just from distributing cracking tools.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Znork (31774)
        "I have yet to hear of any decent ways to change it."

        Solving that problem depends on refactoring the foundations of the concept and realizing that copyright in itself is an actual tax (extracted from the economy by means of legal monopoly pricing).

        Once you realize that copyright _is_ a tax, despite its masquerade, it becomes a problem no more or less difficult to solve than any other government incentives and financing situations (ie, is the tax base as equitable as possible, does the taxation do as little
      • by drsmithy (35869)

        I agree that the world's copyright system is out of date but I have yet to hear of any decent ways to change it.

        In my mind, the major changes that need to be made (fundamentally I'm disagree with copyright entirely, but it's always going to need to be around in some form) are:

        * Make copyright for commercialisation reasons opt-in.
        * Decriminalise non-profit infringement.
        * Dramatically reduce the length of copyright terms and link them to how successful the work is - so more successful works reach the end

    • Smoke and mirrors (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sterno (16320) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @11:09AM (#17114018) Homepage
      This sounds a lot like a deliberate strategy. Put out a proposal that's totally extreme and ridiculous to freak people out. Then when they reject it out of hand you come back with what you really wanted in the first place and it'll pass without dispute. Given labor's reaction, it looks like it worked.
  • by creimer (824291) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @10:42AM (#17113662) Homepage
    If the draconian copyright laws was made legal, the RIAA would been justified in asking judges all over the world to send those guilty of copyright infringements to Australia. The kola bears are now breathing easier that they don't have to share their space.
  • by Spazntwich (208070) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @10:43AM (#17113678)
    Ask for something insane. "Compromise" down to what you wanted in the first place. Everyone is happy.

    Good God, some strategies are so old and obvious I'd be amazed that they still work if I didn't know most people are idiots.
    • Mod parent up! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by msobkow (48369)

      The parent poster has the issue dead bang on. Propose something insane and jackbootish, then compromise so it's "merely" oppressive.

      On the flip side, it does sound like the current issue is explicitly and expressly granting media conversion and playback rights to people. That isn't what I'd call "oppressive", but a clarification of personal use rights that should have been obvious in any country.

      • by Alsee (515537)
        On the flip side, it does sound like the current issue is explicitly and expressly granting media conversion and playback rights to people. That isn't what I'd call "oppressive"

        The article does not actually lay out the actual proposed amendments, and provide no link to the actual text of the amendments.

        Maybe I'm paranoid or cynical, or maybe it's just the blatant common sense of my long experience in having actually read the text of many peices of legilation and having seen that newsreporting on legislation
        • by jazir1979 (637570)

          Sadly, I fear you are right.

          I both thank you and admonish you for bursting my bubble of hope :(
        • by gfim (452121)
          The ammendments are here [aph.gov.au]. I haven't read them all yet but they look fairly good. In a few places they have substituted "either for trade or to an extent that will affect prejudicially the financial interests of the performer in the performance" with "for trade". This means that non-commercial copying is no longer an offence. Also, private copying of a recording that you already own a copy of is not an offence.
          • by Alsee (515537)
            Ok, the AU copyright amendments fixed some of the Public Relations disaster provisons and left the evil provisions of law intact. Children are no longer subject to summary execution for Singing Happy Birthday in a restaurant, yipee[sarcasm]. But as I expected, they granted the "right to drive your car" as in "the RIAA owns the key to your car" and "it is criminal for you to actually drive it".

            To quote my earlier post, they allow "media conversion and playback rights" only so far as the oppressive DRM system
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by NoMaster (142776)

          I'm not going to trust that supposed flip side anything till I get an actuial link to see the text.

          Then get thee to Weatherall's Law [blogspot.com], the blog of Kim Weatherall, Associate Director of the Intellectual Property Research Institute of Australia, a senior lecturer in law at Melbourne University, and Board Member of the Australian Digital Alliance.

          There you'll find she's put together a good, easy to follow summary of the whole process - from the development of the Bill, through the parliamentary discussion (ha

          • by Alsee (515537)
            Thanx much for the AU copyright linky. As I expected the DRM crap was essentially untouched. You have the right to drive your car... but the RIAA owns your keys making it criminal to actually do so.

            -
    • This strategy has worked just fine in the US for many years; the price of gas, other consumer goods and politics come to mind. As a matter of fact, I believe the good ol' US perfected this method to the fine art it is today.
      • by russ1337 (938915)
        Except, in the US, lobbyists propose an "extreme and over the top bill that nobody will accept", and it gets slipped through on the tail of another more benign and not related bill, with little chance for anyone to refute it.

        Thus we are left with a completely outrageous law that suits industry and not the consumer.
    • by jamar0303 (896820)
      If only that worked when shopping... I live somewhere where negotiating prices is the morm. For me, it usually goes like this- Ask for half of given price, get rejected and sometimes sworn at.
      • Well, the tactic would work while shopping, you're just not thinking bold enough.

        It's more like this. Walk into store with a machine gun, tell the owner that you're going to kill his family, kill him, and take all his stuff. Wait for him to beg for mercy; act like you're touched by his display. Relent, and agree to only take his stuff. Bask in adoration for your mercy and kindness.

        • by Alsee (515537)
          Walk into store with a machine gun, tell the owner that you're going to kill his family, kill him, and take all his stuff. Wait for him to beg for mercy; act like you're touched by his display. Relent, and agree to only take his stuff. Bask in adoration for your mercy and kindness.

          You're missing an important part of the picture. The RIAA compromises a lot more than that.

          After taking all his stuff and celebrating your generous compromise of not killing his family, you come back a week later and again insist
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Most people (sometimes even on /.) think sticking to your guns makes you an idealist and that idealism is naive or worse. It seems to transcend politics as well. Employers, policemen, other people in a position of authority... they all seem to see people unwilling to compromise as the problem.

      I think its because most people like to avoid confrontation and thinking as much as possible.
    • Indeed, it's one of the oldest tricks in the book. In popular psychology they call it the "door in the face effect". Slam them full in the face, then step back a little and offer something more "reasonable", which they will usually accept.
  • the MPAA apparently was taking a long nap after there last political escapade and somehow let this one slip through there firm grasp on politics.
  • by plasmacutter (901737) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @10:46AM (#17113714)
    so it was "a million times better"..

    Oh.. I don't mind you repeatedly punching my face.. that's a million times better than disembowling me!

    stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid STUPID people!
    • "but the Labor party (at least) wants to let it go based on the fact that it is 'a million times' better than the original proposed legislation."

      You mean we had the option of just voting NO?
    • The problem is, it still sucks.
      • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

        by Alsee (515537)
        The problem is, it still sucks. (Score:3, Informative)

        I am frighted by the concept that there are people out there for whom that would indeed be "informative".

        -
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by sholden (12227)
      It's irrelevant anyway, the Coalition has a majority in both houses of parliament, they can pass anything they want.
  • Bad Laws (Score:2, Insightful)

    by njko (586450)
    they need to first identify the crime, then make the law accurate. they always mess with the technology, they love to define computer terms like hyperspace e-mail then make ridiculous laws and impossible to fulfill
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by CRC'99 (96526)
      To make up for it however, it's legal to modchip a game console in Australia. DVD region codes are also frowned upon - multi-region players are available off the shelf from pretty much anywhere - and it's also legal to modify your player to play any region DVDs if it doesn't come that way.

      Our federal court ruled that it was not fair and an abuse of corporations power to restrict what zones people can watch DVDs from and would have an adverse effect on customers. At least we're not totally nuts :)
  • American cred (Score:4, Insightful)

    by b0s0z0ku (752509) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @10:53AM (#17113818)
    The US is losing credibility, and other countries no longer feel the need to curry favor at all costs.

    -b.

  • by tkrotchko (124118) * on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @11:03AM (#17113928) Homepage
    This is a pretty common thing to do. We call it "Daddy I want a Pony".

    Here's how it works:

    Kid: Daddy, I want a pony
    Dad: Honey, be reasonable. A pony requires land, a stable, and constant care!
    Kid: But Daddy, I want a pony!
    Dad: It would cost thousands of dollars, we can't afford it, you don't know if you like horses.
    Kid: (crying) BUT DADDY, I WANT A PONY!
    Dad: Uh uh uh... How about a dog instead?
    Kid: (crying stops) Oh okay, I can settle for that.

    So dad thinks "Phew! That was close, I almost had to buy a pony" ... ...and the kid thinks "Easiest way to get a dog!"

    You see this with taxes all the time. They threaten to tax everything... cars, boats, children, blades of grass, pimples on your chin. And then they "settle" for raising income tax another few points. And then you're supposed to feel "relieved".
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I want all of Czechoslavakia!

      No

      I want all of Czechoslavakia!

      No

      Ok, then how about just the Sudentenland?

      Fine
    • by cayenne8 (626475) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @01:20PM (#17115938) Homepage Journal
      "You see this with taxes all the time. They threaten to tax everything... cars, boats, children, blades of grass, pimples on your chin. And then they "settle" for raising income tax another few points. And then you're supposed to feel "relieved".

      Actually...they do the opposite, which kids...and I don't understand it.

      They really should tax you for children...rather than give you a tax break. People children are an extra burden on society...schools, medical, social services (for so many people that are irresponsible for their own kids). In short, people have kids, which use up extra resources. Why should they not take a larger role in paying for them, rather than getting a cut in taxes, and costing those without kids more?

      I mean, I hear the arguement, that tax breaks encourage people to have more kids. Why? People will always f*ck. F*cking will result in kids...I don't think anyone needs encouragement to screw more. I don't think that any couple has said to each other.."Hon...I just don't wanna have any (more) kids.". "But babe, look at the tax write off we'll get for the kids if we have it"."Ok, babe...take them panties on down there then!!!"

      Anyway, so, if they're looking for revenues that target a burden that uses the resources that these taxes pay for...tax parents for each kid they have.

      • by soft_guy (534437)

        They really should tax you for children...rather than give you a tax break.
        I predict you would have little success running for public office with this talking point.
        • by cayenne8 (626475)
          "I predict you would have little success running for public office with this talking point."

          Well, maybe they shouldn't enact a tax on kids..but, for sure they shouldn't get a tax break, which in essence is making people without kids pay the extra for the ones that do.

          :-)

          Yeah, I know...wouldn't be too popular...but, it sure isn't fair the way it stands right now.

          I shouldn't be penalized for being someone who chooses not to have kids...because he doesn't want them.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by soft_guy (534437)

            "I predict you would have little success running for public office with this talking point."

            Well, maybe they shouldn't enact a tax on kids..but, for sure they shouldn't get a tax break, which in essence is making people without kids pay the extra for the ones that do.

            :-)

            Yeah, I know...wouldn't be too popular...but, it sure isn't fair the way it stands right now.

            I shouldn't be penalized for being someone who chooses not to have kids...because he doesn't want them.

            The tax incentive you are talking about is simply the concept of claiming dependents on one's income tax. If you end up (for whatever reason) taking care of an elderly relative, you would qualify for the same tax break.

            I certainly would have no problem with eliminating all income tax and just eliminating the pork in the federal budget to pay for it (kill NASA, Amtrak, no optional wars, get rid of most federal workers, etc.)

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Alsee (515537)
        they do the opposite, whi[th] kids...and I don't understand it.
        They really should tax you for children...rather than give you a tax break.


        I'm not arguing for or against anything here... if someone has concrete effective improvements to suggest to the system, great. I'm merely trying to adress your stated not-understanding why things are the way they are.

        In theory people should build up a signifigant cash nest egg before creating a child, to properly supply that child's needs.

        Unfortuantely I'm not aware of a
        • by cayenne8 (626475)
          "Now more specifically to the "child tax credit". Unfortuantely most people are rotten at planing ahead, and in particular have a rough time adapting to a drop in available cash flow. You may be able to get by fine on an $X budget, but if you have established mortgage payments and car payments and food shopping etc etc etc based on a higher $Y budget can make it extremly difficult to move to that lower $X budget... especially when you can't change the mortgage payment or the car payments. Even a reasonable
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by syousef (465911)
        Except that your argument ignores the invention of birth control, and would lead to a system where people could tax themselves into extinction. Oh and you're also conveniently forgetting that while it is a burden on society to bring a child into the world, that burden is also shared by the child who is suppose to have decent prospects of growing up and contributing to society and taxation. What you're talking about limits the population which actually decreases revenue in the long run. Even the politicians
        • by cayenne8 (626475)
          "Except that your argument ignores the invention of birth control, and would lead to a system where people could tax themselves into extinction."

          I don't understand the point you're trying to make here...but, with reference to birth control, I practice it in a BIG way, so as not to have kids...but, someone that fucks without a rubber and has a kid, they get a tax break? Why should I pay more tax because I believe in not having kids? At least not anytime soon if ever.

          "Well until population becomes so unsus

          • by syousef (465911)
            Amazing how self centered some people are. You'd rather families struggle a little more so you don't have to pay an extra few dollars in tax. You've just said you make a good bit of money. Doesn't sound like you need the tax break. Anyway there are much bigger wastes of money than tax breaks for families out there.
            • by cayenne8 (626475)
              Yes...my money is mine.

              If people with kids get a break, and I don't...that is pretty much like me subsidizing them for having kids. If they want to fuck and have a kid as a result...then that should be their responsibility completely.

              I don't mind giving....when I have full choice of who and where to give. I don't like the govt. taking my money and essentially giving it to others just 'cause they had unprotected sex.

              • by syousef (465911)
                Other people don't own a car, so they don't want to subsidise roads.
                Others are rarely sick so they don't want to subsidise hospitals.
                Yet others don't think the police are worth the money because they live in good neighbourhoods.
                Airports?? But I don't fly.

                Where does it stop exactly? You want to see a world where governments have no money to run anything?

                Think of it this way. That money hopefully keeps more kids off the street - kids that if you had your way would end up homeless and would happily rob you and
                • by cayenne8 (626475)
                  "Other people don't own a car, so they don't want to subsidise roads. Others are rarely sick so they don't want to subsidise hospitals. Yet others don't think the police are worth the money because they live in good neighbourhoods. Airports?? But I don't fly."

                  Ah, but now your talking about infrastructure. I really don't have a problem paying taxes (mostly a state level thing) to build and maintain infrastructure...something that does benefit all..those with and without kids or cars...etc.

                  I don't mind the

      • by drsmithy (35869)

        I mean, I hear the arguement, that tax breaks encourage people to have more kids. Why? People will always f*ck. F*cking will result in kids...I don't think anyone needs encouragement to screw more. I don't think that any couple has said to each other.."Hon...I just don't wanna have any (more) kids.". "But babe, look at the tax write off we'll get for the kids if we have it"."Ok, babe...take them panties on down there then!!!"

        "Family-oriented" tax breaks exist to encourage the "right" type of people (ie: t

      • by jambarama (784670)
        You have the tax break backwards. It isn't to get people to have kids directly, it is to give a break to those already with kids. So people are more likely to be able to afford kids--they are expensive. A small tax break only helps a bit with that.
    • This is a pretty common thing to do. We call it "Daddy I want a Pony".

      Here's how it works:

      Kid: Daddy, I want a pony
      Dad: Honey, be reasonable. A pony requires land, a stable, and constant care!
      Kid: But Daddy, I want a pony!
      Dad: It would cost thousands of dollars, we can't afford it, you don't know if you like horses.
      Kid: (crying) BUT DADDY, I WANT A PONY!
      Dad: Uh uh uh... How about a dog instead?
      Kid: (crying stops) Oh okay, I can settle for that.

      So dad thinks "Phew! That was close, I almost had

  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @11:05AM (#17113958) Journal
    ...could you turn the temperature down just a bit so I can get used to it before you make it any hotter.

    Thanks,
    Kermit
  • by 15Bit (940730) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @11:15AM (#17114152)
    "These new provisions have the potential to make everyday Australians in homes and businesses across the country into criminals on a scale that we have not witnessed before."

    Now come on guys, that just not true - only 200 hundred years ago you were ALL criminals....

    • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

      by bigbird (40392)

      Now come on guys, that just not true - only 200 hundred years ago you were ALL criminals....

      I'll have you know that's certainly not the case. Some of us were prison officers! Duh!

      • by lgftsa (617184)
        *raises hand* Descendant of First Fleet doctor.
      • by Antarius (542615)
        And then there is South Australia.

        We are the only State that was never a Penal Colony. Of course, I've often wondered if that makes as a Vaginal Colony.

        (Melbournians, especially Collingwood Supporters, need not respond!)
      • And of course, not all states took convicts.
    • Bullshit, the vast majority of our population can't trace their lines back to the convicts who first came here.
      • by Antarius (542615)
        Whilst not able to trace back to convicts (I'm in South Australia!), we've been able to trace back to the first one of our bloodline that jumped ship here in the 1800's...

        So I guess I'm not descended from Convicts, but Illegal Immigrants.

        Catch you later. I'm off to Baxter now.
    • by kramulous (977841)
      Were? Still am. And proud of it
    • by Trongy (64652)
      "Now come on guys, that just not true - only 200 hundred years ago you were ALL criminals...."
      becuase as we all know, there were no black people living in Australia before the English arrived.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by alchemy101 (961551)
      All criminals? South Australia was founded as a 'free province'. Victoria and (I think) Western Australia were also free provinces but later accepted convicts.
    • by Builder (103701)
      That's not true... Some of them were REAL bastards... prison guards :D
  • Truly Faulty Logic (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @11:32AM (#17114424)
    wants to let it go based on the fact that it is 'a million times' better than the original proposed legislation.

    A bad law that's now a less bad law is still a bad law. Such faulty rationale only leads lobbyists to ask for the truly impossibly unreasonable, knowing that the compromise will still give them the mostly unreasonable.

    Reminds me of a recent case where one woman won a major lottery jackpot, and immediately another woman claimed this was her winning ticket, which she had lost in the convenience store parking lot. The compromisers in the public media were claiming that, because so much money was involved, that it would be fair to just split the money between the two claimants. I don't know whose idea of fair this is, but certainly not mine. The woman claiming to have lost the ticket eventually admitted to lying about this, and the true winner was paid all of their winnings.

    Moral: Don't fall for the trap that the fair solution would be to give us half of what we originally asked for. Some people deserve none at all!

  • by ChilyWily (162187) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @12:07PM (#17114920) Homepage
    why such a draconian proposal would be made in the first place? Isn't it just a ploy to scare people into "look what could've happened" to "we are your saviors, we understand the little guy" - I call shenanigans. When citizens are called "consumers" and big business threatens the ordinary little guy by LAW, something is seriously messed up. Think of it, when was the last time you read a headline that did not involve a big corporation/lobby influencing a government to do something that runs completely opposite of what the role of a government is. Why does the little guy get so jacked everytime!
    • by Shadow99_1 (86250)
      'Because he's little' is the simple answer... Much like ants without an army of them swarming you they are treated as nothing...
    • by kocsonya (141716)
      You still live in the leftie dream that the government is for the people. That idea is way outdated. The government is here to provide a lucrative business environment. The current Aussie government rebuts any environmental or social issue by explaining how it would hurt this or that industry. Kyoto? Would hurt our coal industry! Protecting ancient aboriginal rock art? Would hurt the gas industry! Not selling uranium to countries that didn't sign the NPT? Would hurt the uranium industry! The list goes on.

      By
    • that democracy is being undermined. In democracy every man has one vote, so the system should guarantee that the little guy's interests are represented. However, democracy is undermined by lobbyist and corrupt politicians that serve not the interests of their voters but of those who pay enough.

      IMO this is high treason, and deserves the final penalty. I think politicians that really want to represent the people should make this more clear, if only to deter those that might be tempted to corrupt democracy by
  • by l2718 (514756) on Tuesday December 05, 2006 @12:41PM (#17115410)
    "The amended reforms make it clear consumers can transfer the music they own onto devices such as iPods and enable the next wave of technology by allowing people to record a TV or radio program on mobile devices to watch it at a more convenient time," according to Attorney-General Ruddock

    From where I'm sitting this is a misapprehension of the way copyright law is supposed to work. His approach seems to be as follows: Start with the assumption that all copying is bad. Then theorize what the next wave of technology is going to be, decide that you like it, and carve out special exemption for this technology from your draconian law. Rather, you make the law ignore technology and concertrate on the content. I think the original American system (reasonable copyright term coupled with "fair use") would be quite sufficient today, for example.

  • The amendments also removed on-the-spot fines for some copyright offenses, to ensure they didn't 'unintentionally capture harmless activities of ordinary Australians'."

    ... which, I think, is exactly what the RIAA and their ilk are after in the first place. "Oh, you're infringing our rights? Better pay up, Buddy; we can make endless trouble for you and then it's gonna get *really* expensive!"

    This, I believe, is what used to be called a shakedown, and it used to be considered a criminal activity. Now it

  • The Labor and Green parties still have problems with the bill as it exists, but the Labor party (at least) wants to let it go based on the fact that it is 'a million times' better than the original proposed legislation."
    Are you sure that this wasn't the original plan all along? It's somewhat common to propose something radical, and when that gets shot down, you propose something more moderate (and what you originally wanted), and it passes with little fight.
  • This is what happened:

    They asked for the galaxy, and they "settled" for the sun and the moon.

    They haven't back down from what they really wanted. They have what they really wanted.
  • Before this law, backups and format & time shifting was illegal. It's just that everyone did it and The Industry didn't care as long as you weren't re-distributing. Mainly because the burden of proof was not worthwhile.

    I've yet to read the revised legislation, but the legalisation of these three elements would be a major improvement on the existing situation.

    The proposed legislation was actually worse than the old stuff - it added explicit liability etc etc

  • The widely-publicized reforms to Australian copyright -- which would turn iPod, camera phone and DVD recorder owners into criminals -- have been significantly amended.
    Wait, isn't everyone in Australia already a criminal? That was the whole point, wasn't it?
    • by rrohbeck (944847)
      Wait, isn't everyone in Australia already a criminal? That was the whole point, wasn't it?

      Well, they are all descended from criminals. Now I don't know which way evolution works in this case. Maybe they have evolved into super-criminals by now, that's why they need such draconian laws.
    • Well, not really. Australia consists of a number of states that used to be separate colonies before federation. A number of these were founded as "free" colonies. Generally speaking the ones that play the better code of football...

    • by drsmithy (35869)

      Wait, isn't everyone in Australia already a criminal? That was the whole point, wasn't it?

      You say this in jest (I hope ;) ), but ironically it's actually true, vis-a-vis activities related to copyright.

      Under current Australian laws, we aren't even able to record (most) things on TV (to time-shift or otherwise). There's no concept of "fair use", or similar. I've often wondered how Apple were even able to sell the iPod in Australia, given that until the Oz iTunes Store opened up a few months ago, there w

  • Does anyone have some information on what they've actually amended? If this is the same legislation that I recall, it was going to be illegal for me to have a modchip in my games consoles so that I could play legitimately purchased import software (they like to gouge us for massive margins on games, if we get them at all). If this is the same legislation, then I want to know if that specific part has been fixed yet or not.
  • Does this change the (stupid) clause in the law that says timeshifting is ok but says that the timeshifted content must be deleted/destroyed after you have watched it once?
    • Does this change the (stupid) clause in the law that says timeshifting is ok but says that the timeshifted content must be deleted/destroyed after you have watched it once?

      I don't agree with it, but such a clause would be perfectly aligned with the idea of time-shifting. Far from stupid, it formally defines something the concept of "time-shifting" inherently implies.

  • is here [ag.gov.au]

    FTFFAQ:
    What if my CD has copy protection applied to it?

    You cannot circumvent an access control technological protection measure (TPM) on a CD or music file to make a format-shift copy. However, most CDs and all vinyl records, do not have TPMs. Most record manufacturers still do not apply TPMs to their CDs.


    So it's quite clear where the Aust government's loyalties lie. You only have the right to make a copy if the manufacturer allows it. So it looks like we now have an Aussie DMCA, where it'
  • by nighty5 (615965) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @05:54AM (#17126670)
    Australian govt just posted this FAQ which is in plain english what the bill means.

    URL: http://www.ag.gov.au/agd/WWW/MinisterRuddockHome.n sf/Page/RWPC7B0742318EF6A58CA25723B008145FC [ag.gov.au]

    And here is the text for the lazy:

    Copyright Amendment Bill 2006 - Frequently Asked Questions
    Criminal provisions

    Can I still sing Happy Birthday in a public place?

    Yes. Even if the words or lyrics to Happy Birthday were still in copyright in Australia, simply singing it in public would not be enough to attract criminal liability. There are no on-the-spot fines for this conduct.

    Is it an offence for a 14 year old to record himself or herself lip-synching a pop song and post it on the Internet?

    Recording yourself lip-synching a pop song may mean that you are making an unauthorised copy of the sound recording. However, posting the recording on the Internet will not in itself constitute a criminal offence.

    If the recording is posted for the purposes of trade, it may amount to a criminal offence and be subject to an on-the-spot fine.
    Recording television and radio for a later time ('time shifting')

    Do these amendments mean I can record my favourite television or radio program to enjoy later?

    Yes. You will be able to record television or radio broadcast programs to enjoy at a more convenient time. You can record a broadcast and view or listen to a recording inside or outside your home including on a mobile device.

    Does this mean I can keep a library of copied television and radio programs?

    No. There is an important difference between 'librarying' and 'time-shift' recording. Librarying is building up a collection to keep indefinitely for repeated use while time-shifting is recording a broadcast at a time when the person can't view it so it can be watched at a later time. A time-shift copy can't be kept permanently for repeated use. However, DVDs and sound recordings of popular broadcasts are increasingly available for purchase.

    What can I do with the recorded program?

    You can watch or listen to the recording with your family and friends. You cannot give away, sell or hire a recording or play it at school or work or to any other kind of public audience.

    Can I share a recording over the Internet?

    No. Uploading the recording to the Internet to share with others would continue to be subject to civil and in some circumstances criminal liability.

    Can I record a program from pay-television?

    Yes, if you have paid the subscription fee to watch the program.
    Copying music in different formats ('format shifting')

    Will I be able to copy my music collection onto my iPod?

    Yes. You can format-shift music that you own to devices such as an MP3 player, X-Box 360 or your computer.

    Can I copy a music download to a CD or MP3 player?

    Yes, if you have purchased a legitimate copy.

    Will I be able to share my music collection with a friend or family?

    You will not be able to sell, loan or give away a copy you make to a friend, but a friend can listen to your music with you. You will be able to loan your copy to a family or household member.

    Can I share the copy over the Internet?

    No. Uploading the copy to the Internet to share with others would be subject to civil and in some circumstances criminal liability.

    What if my CD has copy protection applied to it?

    You cannot circumvent an access control technological protection measure (TPM) on a CD or music file to make a format-shift copy. However, most CDs and all vinyl records, do not have TPMs. Most record manufacturers still do not apply TPMs to their CDs.

    Will I be able to format-shift other kinds of copyright material as well as sound recordings?

    Yes. You will also be able to format-shift copy some other copyright material such as books, newspapers, magazines, video tapes and photog

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