Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Privacy Government The Courts Your Rights Online News Politics

Australian ISPs Reject Calls To Police Their Users 86

Posted by Zonk
from the they-like-money-i-bet dept.
jon_cooper writes "After recent setbacks in the RIAA's lawsuits, the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) has decided to try a different approach in Australia - they want ISPs to do their dirty work for them. Australian ISPs, though, have soundly rejected calls from AFACT to slow down or terminate user accounts that AFACT has determined are being used to distribute copyrighted works. Telstra (one of the larger ISPs in question) had this to say: 'We do not believe it is up to the ISPs to be judge, jury and executioner in relation to the issue when the content owners have any number of legal avenues to pursue infringements.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Australian ISPs Reject Calls To Police Their Users

Comments Filter:
  • Give it 1 year. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    This will turn around 180' once money comes into the play. You hear that RIAA bring in the millions and we'll do your dirty work for you.

    In this world everyone will do it for the money.
  • Being carefull. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by z0M6 (1103593)
    Doing said dirty work could be risky. Termination based on loose accusations might end up in lawsuits. Somehow I got the feeling that they don't want any of those.
    • In any case, for once, I agree with Telstra. I've been laughing at them every time they've called in an attempt to get my business for the last few years, but kudos to them for telling the Mob to fuck off.
  • by G4from128k (686170) on Friday August 31, 2007 @08:44AM (#20423773)
    The issue here is the customer service costs (and loss of revenue). If an ISP cuts off a customer (rightfully or wrongfully), it's the ISP that pays for the irate calls from those customers and suffers from a loss of revenue. Even if the ISP uses an Indian call center, they still face several to tens of dollars in costs as the customer tries to determine why they were cut-off and how to regain service.

    Assuming that people have a right to confront the accuser (AFACT), then shouldn't AFACT bear the labor costs of that confrontation?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      not to mention the upfront costs of adding systems and personnel to identify users who are distributing copyrighted works.

      This requires very intrusive and labor intensive monitoring of P2P streams. In most countries, the copyright holder is responsible for enforcing their own copyright. For good reason.

      Also, the people who would work for the ISP and end up with this job would likely have even less motivation than the ISP. It'd be a pretty demoralizing job.

      From the putative ISP copyright holders' protecti
  • Hmm... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Mystery00 (1100379) on Friday August 31, 2007 @08:50AM (#20423833)

    A report produced last year by web monitoring company Envisional found the per capita rate of television show piracy in Australia was the highest in the world. It said Australians accounted for 15.6 per cent of all online TV piracy.

    I find that part particularly interesting purely because of the idea of pirating TV shows, how, exactly, do you pirate TV shows? Watching them on TV is a free service, you have also been able to record from the TV for a very long time, what exactly is the difference between recording from the TV, and downloading the show from the net, and how does that effect the broadcasting industry?

    • Re:Hmm... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by FellowConspirator (882908) on Friday August 31, 2007 @09:29AM (#20424357)
      They're worried about the advertisement being removed and being able to resell the content. Of course, the advertisement revenu is somewhat of a Red Herring, since the model already presumes all the revenue stems from the initial broadcast or rebroadcast (i.e., the cost is based on viewership for the time slot; so the advertiser's bought the attention of the estimated number of viewers).

      They're also worried that Internet availability undermines their availability to sell advertising for rebroadcasts and might impact packaged sale of shows on DVD. There's a better argument for that.

      I think that, increasingly, but removing their shows from Internet distribution they're undercutting exposue of their properties to a wide audience. There's plenty of opportunity to capitalize on content without adhereing to an onerous in-broadcast advertising model.
    • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Informative)

      by deniable (76198) on Friday August 31, 2007 @09:44AM (#20424625)
      One of the major reasons cited for downloading TV here is the time delay from the US/UK. In the bad old days it took 3-4 years for ST:TNG to start here. Must have been the dubbing delay. We then got the shuffled season 1 and 2, the graveyard time-slot and irregular schedules. Back then people got around it by mailing VHS tapes.

      So when Australian networks treat a show like garbage, downloading gives you a better product with more reliable timing. The counter for this is that we are now getting some shows within weeks of the original airing. Californication is about two weeks delayed. This helps protect the ad revenue.
      • Re:Hmm... (Score:4, Funny)

        by soulsteal (104635) <soulsteal&3l337,org> on Friday August 31, 2007 @12:10PM (#20426559) Homepage
        The dubbing wasn't the delay. Rewriting the script so that all the guys are named Bruce? That takes FOREVER!
        • by dbIII (701233)
          When they showed them in Australia somebody decided to sort them all by theme. Thus we ended up with all the "Wesley saves the day" episodes from season 1 and 2 in a block right after the first episode. Waiting up until midnight to watch effectively a rewrite of the previous weeks episode was a bit annoying - I couldn't just set the video as the show before it ran up to an hour over time or sometimes finished early. I still have no idea why I ended up seeing all of ST:NG after an intro like this.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by skeeto (1138903)

      It also says,

      slow down or terminate user accounts that AFACT has determined are being used to distribute copyrighted works.

      I upload copyrighted works all the time, such as this Slashdot post. I also upload source code I have written to my web page. I share free software with people. Looks like AFACT would have shut someone like me down.

      Or we can stop saying broad things like this. The University of Kansas says, "if you are caught downloading copyrighted material [slashdot.org], you will lose your ResNet privileges forever." You can't use the Internet without downloading copyrighted material. Unless you have spent your lif

      • by johndmann (946896)
        I assume that "unauthorized" is simply being implied here. While it makes more sense to include the distinction, most people who read this know that this is what they mean. As for inclusion in a legal agreement of some nature, it should be specified, yes.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by wylf (657051)

      exactly, do you pirate TV shows? ... you have also been able to record from the TV for a very long time

      In fact, it has only been a recent development where recording a TV show to VHS or similar *hasn't* been illegal in Australia. The only provision for personal media recording used to be for live performances.

      From memory, this changed sometime in 2006

    • Futurama (Score:2, Informative)

      by kramulous (977841)
      When Futurama first came to Australia, it was aired 11.30pm on a Tuesday night. It was like this the first year and then it disappeared because of 'lack of interest from the viewing public'. The networks would show the first 6 episodes of the first season and then cut to the fourth season, then back to the 2nd season. You knew this was going on because there were characters that you 'knew' had been developed earlier. DVD's were not available until several years later. If you want me to start purchasing
    • by typidemon (729497)
      Ignoring the fact that Australian TV caters only for the lowest common denominator, and as such we have the best collection of the worst shit from around the world. TV piracy is a huge problem because the TV networks have been bending us over a barrel for years.

      Until very, very, recently Australian TV networks would sometimes take years to get a new TV series to Australia. It had to be a proven success somewhere in the world before anybody would pick it up here. Nobody, ever risked a new TV show that hadn't
  • by splutty (43475) on Friday August 31, 2007 @08:51AM (#20423841)
    Scary... This must be the first positive thing I've ever heard about Telstra. I'm wondering how long they're going to maintain that stand. Call me cynical, but I'm quite sure the next step is 'buy the government'..
    • by cute-boy (62961)
      I doubt Telstra are taking this line in the interests of their customers however (now that really would be a first).

      The Telsta monopoly (yes, it is a monopoly) is currently having a very public row with the Australian government regarding it's 'fibre to the node' proposal, in the context of the ongoing and upcoming election issue of broadband access to the Australian consumer (including small/medium business consumers).

      I seriously doubt Telstra have any moral or ethical issues this sort of proposed monitori
    • by humpy101 (1042972)
      I know! I can't believe that I am feeling good about Telstra right now. Ohh, I feel all dirty, time for a shower...
  • Idiots (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SlashDark (1150245) on Friday August 31, 2007 @08:56AM (#20423909)
    With all the zombie computers, trojaned by kids or simply hacked ones it would be easy to make victims download copyrighted stuff without them even knowing it. And so the ISPS would have to either shut down those people's accounts (even though they didn't do anything) or have loads of work to find the one who hacked the computer, and most of the time they probably can't.
  • by FellowConspirator (882908) on Friday August 31, 2007 @09:19AM (#20424245)
    ... and that's really the crux of the matter. Every picture you take, every letter you write, every story you tell, whatever you create is copyrighted -- by you. You have every right in the world to distribute your creations and you expect to. When you browse a company's web-site, you are receiving images and content that are, ostensibly, copyrighted by them which they also freely distribute so that you can view them on your own computer.

    The key is not that a work is copyrighted, but rather that the distribution occurs without the permission of the copyright holder. There's where it gets sticky. The ISP knows you are exchanging copyrighted works because everything is copyrighted. What the indutry is asking for is that the ISP identify specific chunks of data for which the distribution constitutes infringement. But how can the ISP know whether infringement is taking place?

    For something to be infringing, they will need to know whether or not the sender of the content is the copyright holder, a licensee for the content with permission to redistribute (like iTunes), the terms under which the content may be distributed (only if fee collected and DRM in place), whether those terms are met (valid credit card number used / the user hasn't implemented a hack to remove DRM), whether the copyright has expired (there are still some copyrights that expire), or whether the distribution constitutes an exception to copyright protection (such as a "fair use" under US law). How can the ISP possibly know these things?

    Well, they can't possibly distinguish (doubly so if the content is encrypted). Some of those things can only be answered by a court.

    Nevermind it being an unnecessary burden on ISPs or a violation of their customers, the ISP is simply unable to know the legal context in which data is distributed and whether it may constitute infringement. Any accusation of that sort would necessarily need to be vetted through the approriate legal authority, not the ISP.
    • For something to be infringing, they will need to know whether or not the sender of the content is the copyright holder, a licensee for the content with permission to redistribute (like iTunes), the terms under which the content may be distributed (only if fee collected and DRM in place), whether those terms are met (valid credit card number used / the user hasn't implemented a hack to remove DRM), whether the copyright has expired (there are still some copyrights that expire), or whether the distribution c
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by jibjibjib (889679)
        Just setting the evil bit on packets containing unauthorised copies should be sufficient.
  • How many times do I have to say it?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    yea, good luck with that one ARIA/AFACT. Telstra employ one of the largest legal teams in Australia and regularly, and very sucessfully i might add, defend itself against a litegious government department (ACCC) many times a year for the last 5 years since privatisation. I think their meeting would go like this..

    1) AFACT: "Stop your users from downloading our content now!"
    2) Telstra: "Umm.. No. What else ya got?"
    3) ?
    4) Telstra: Profit!

    But hey, don't take my word for it, ARIA, AFACT, what ever you are called
  • Copyright Theft eh? is that when you take someone else's copyrights and use them for your own purposes?

    maybe like what verizon [slashdot.org] did?

    remember people, copyright infringement != theft
  • by KuRa_Scvls (932317) on Friday August 31, 2007 @05:31PM (#20429583)
    Australian Copyrights Act clearly protects ISPs from legal action through the copyright infringement of the users of ISPs.

    http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/ ca1968133/s116aa.html [austlii.edu.au]

    [116AA to 116AG] [Press next if you want to read them all]

    Quite frankly, I think this is a great legislation, understanding that the ISPs do not, and should not have

    any liabilities thrown at them for something their customers have been doing behind their back.

    Is there a similar legislation in America?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Nazlfrag (1035012)
      Thanks for the link, it was an interesting read. However, there is this section:

      (3) For an infringement of copyright that occurs in the course of the carrying out of a Category A activity, the relief that a court may grant against a carriage service provider is limited to one or more of the following orders:

      (a) an order requiring the carriage service provider to take reasonable steps to disable access to an online location outside Australia;
      (b) an order requiring the carriage service provider to terminate a specified account.

      (4) For an infringement of copyright that occurs in the course of the carrying out of a Category B, C or D activity, the relief that a court may grant against a carriage service provider is limited to one or more of the following orders:

      (a) an order requiring the carriage service provider to remove or disable access to infringing copyright material, or to a reference to infringing copyright material;
      (b) an order requiring the carriage service provider to terminate a specified account;
      (c) some other less burdensome but comparably effective nonmonetary order if necessary.

      So while it protects them from monetary damages, it seems ARIA has a case under those laws. Not the reassurance I was hoping for.

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell

Working...