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US Embassy Sanctioned Lawsuit Against Aussie ISP iiNet 263

Posted by timothy
from the conspiracy-against-the-laity-part-XVXIIIX dept.
New submitter Elenor writes with this story (excerpted) from TorrentFreak, another nugget gleaned from the cables made public by WikiLeaks: "The Canberra Wikileaks cables have revealed that the U.S. Embassy sanctioned a conspiracy by Hollywood studios to target Australian communications company iiNet through the local court-system, with the aim of establishing a binding common-law precedent which would make ISPs responsible for the unauthorised file-sharing of their customers. Both the location, Australia, and the target, iiNet, were carefully selected. A precedent set in Australia would be influential in countries with comparable legal systems such as Canada, India, New Zealand and Great Britain. Australian telecommunications giant Telstra was judged too large for the purposes of the attack. Owing to its smaller size and more limited resources, iiNet was gauged the perfect candidate." The cable describes no overt action on the part of the American embassy, but the wording is telling: "Mike Ellis, the Singapore-based President for Asia Pacific of the Motion Picture Association ... said MPAA did not see any role for Embassy at this time, but wanted to keep us informed."
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US Embassy Sanctioned Lawsuit Against Aussie ISP iiNet

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  • by unity100 (970058) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @09:47PM (#38814103) Homepage Journal

    So, american embassies are MPAA's bitches ?

    • by wierd_w (1375923) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @09:50PM (#38814131)

      No, the US govt is the MPAA's bitch.
      The US embassy serves the US govt.

      As such, the MPAA's cozy relationship with US politicians permits these sorts of things.

      No quid pr quo my hairy white ass.

      • by rhook (943951) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @09:53PM (#38814161)

        And this is why lobbying and campaign contributions need to be outlawed.

        • by Avarist (2453728) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @10:08PM (#38814287)
          They might want you to call it 'lobbying and campaign contributions', I call that outright corruption.
        • by spyder-implee (864295) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @10:13PM (#38814329)
          It totally should, although until then I think that iiNet's court victory coupled with the un-earthing of the clandestine activities of the record company & US embassy will hamper any cases brought by the recording industry in the near future. Or is that just wishful thinking?
          • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @11:08PM (#38814713) Homepage

            Just wishful thinking.

            Look, in the political climate that would even consider Newt Gingrich for president, anything other than overt genocide is going to get a pass.

          • by rtb61 (674572) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @07:52AM (#38816991) Homepage

            Correct, precedent is set and in any future case this evidence as well as precedence will be submitted. Note losers pays so iiNet got a major chunk of it's money back, this evidence could be used in a "Barratry, Maintenance and Champerty" case to gain further damages http://www.lawlink.nsw.gov.au/lrc.nsf/pages/DP36CHP2 [nsw.gov.au]. Major case, major investment but a good chance of succeeding, another countries involvement especially a country with a clear reputation for threats of trade and military intervention will likely leave a vary bad taste in any independent Australian judges mouth.

            Especially now with the US forcing thousands of armed and fully loaded marines Marines, in fact they will be the largest armed and ready for conflict force in Australia, so targeted at China or an independent Australia and it's resources (once in will Australia ever be able to remove them and how much larger will their numbers get).

            Separation of powers works in Australia, and the high court routinely hands down judgements against the government http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_High_Court [wikipedia.org], strict literal interpretation of the laws and constitution as written and any changes to the constitution require a public referendum.

        • by Grishnakh (216268) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @10:19PM (#38814367)

          Even better, Australia needs to throw out the US embassies in their country and cut off diplomatic ties. All the other developed nations should do the same, until we can get our act together.

          • by dbIII (701233) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @11:02PM (#38814665)
            Give us a year or two - for now we still buy a little bit of stuff from the USA instead of directly from Asia where it is made. As you guys keep outsourcing it won't be long before there isn't anything we want to buy from the USA.
            You can keep the military hardware. We've been conned into buying crap as part of political deals - notably some obsolete but expensive torpedoes that didn't fit our subs until we modified the subs (stupid for torpedoes that are not made any more), some ancient Sea Sprite helicopters that were rubbish in 1975 let alone 2006, and some tanks that we can't even use within our own country without tanker trucks following them around. And don't get me started on the JSF. You may have some good equipment but politics and corruption means that instead of supplying it to your military allies you simply drain their military budgets into the pockets of big contributors and make your military allies buy expensive crap as part of a package deal.
            So there you go, you've fucked up your economy so badly that there's nothing much that we want that we can actually buy from the USA.
            • by Grishnakh (216268) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @11:11PM (#38814745)

              Yep, our tanks are massive gas guzzlers. Those gas turbine engines are kinda cool in that they can run on just about anything, but then they need so much of it that it kinda negates the advantage, unless you happen to be operating those tanks in the middle east right next door to where the oil is being pumped out of the ground.

              You can probably get much more cost-effective military hardware from the UK. I used to watch your TV show "Sea Patrol" and they had a really nice UK-made cannon on the patrol boat that could lock on targets with high accuracy even in high seas. Not a bad show; certainly much better than the rubbish we make over here. You should export more of your TV to us. Of course, with so many of us watching crap like The Kardashians and Jerry Springer, even something fairly lowbrow like Sea Patrol would still be way too highbrow for us.

              • You should export more of your TV to us

                We came up with Big Brother and exported it to the world :(
                With the tanks the German made Leopards we just retired were superior in a lot of roles, as I'm sure some US made tanks are. However it was a "take it or leave it" package deal that some US Senator was getting rich on. It wasn't as bad as the Sea Sprite fiasco (buying a lot of very expensive and very old helicopters and scrapping them), but that's the sort of thing that gets attached to trade deals.

                • by Gadget_Guy (627405) * on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @12:46AM (#38815367)

                  We came up with Big Brother and exported it to the world :(

                  No we didn't. It was the Dutch who invented that quality show.

                • by the_raptor (652941) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @01:54AM (#38815689)

                  [quote]With the tanks the German made Leopards we just retired were superior in a lot of roles[/quote]

                  Yes but they were mostly worn out. We operated stuff like the Leopards and M113's well past the use-by-date on the chassis.

                  The real problem with the Abram's deal is that our government is terrified of anything to do with the words "nuclear" or "uranium" (unless it is exporting uranium) and so we got the crappy armour for our Abram's that the Americans replaced in the mid-80's.

                  The problem is that most of our local defence needs are going to involve urban/jungle warfare where "modern" AT weapons (like the ancient RPG-7) would tear our under-armoured Abrams, let alone Leopards, apart. We would have been better off spending the money on some tracked IFV's with a big gun version of that IFV to fill the tank role. Instead we bought MBT's which we have little use for and lack the logistics to support properly, and are mostly reliant on wheeled IFVs like the ASLAV or Bushmaster. Those are fine for the dry season but would be almost totally worthless in the rainy season.

              • by mug funky (910186)

                we wouldn't have the budget to even send you the tapes via fedex.

                film and TV in Australia is fucked. all the talent either gets beaten down in a shitty job, or moves overseas.

                our major funding bodies are basically a circle-jerk for friends of people on the board. any funding you get is a poison chalice, because no matter how small the contribution, you have to slap a big ugly logo fullscreen at the end of your film. you also can't get discounts because the government funding requires budgeting to be done

                • by Grishnakh (216268)

                  What what I can see, it seems like a lot of the best TV shows are being made in Canada these days.

                  But Terra Nova seems to be a pretty good success for Australia.

            • by Capsaicin (412918) * on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @11:47PM (#38815007)

              As you guys keep outsourcing it won't be long before there isn't anything we want to buy from the USA.

              We will be still importing billions of aussies worth of US intellectual property (regardless of which manufacturer in which country is collecting it from us). The US govt realised in the 1980s the their manufacturing exports were doomed. Their future would be software and entertainment. That is why the US govt has been so fussed about setting up an international IP regime which they control. That is what the US embassy is doing here trying to hijack Australian common law.

            • by AK Marc (707885)
              Australia wants to be the US. Most countries want the good and leave the bad, but Australia desperately wants to be the US, for better or worse. They'll only get more US-like in the next 2-3 years. Sydney is a bland city that could be Boston, other than people in Boston talk funny.
          • Riiight because this is the most important thing we have going and therefore should override any other concerns.

        • And this is why lobbying and campaign contributions need to be outlawed.

          The true cellar-dwelling geek --- the mushroom maiden --- with no social or political life whatsoever --- has no need of organizations and lobbyists to represent and protect his interests.

          The politician aligns with interests that are important to his home district. There are people he has to know, people he has to listen to whether they support his campaign or not.

          The congreswoman for Redwood City won't give a damn if Anonymous hacks her website.

          But she will know to the dime how much Dreamworks Animation

          • The true cellar-dwelling geek --- the mushroom maiden --- with no social or political life whatsoever

            And a true cellar-dwelling American has no knowledge of politics or processes outside his own nation.

            To quote Graeme Orr:

            Of gravest concern is the perception of the sale of governmental favours. This concern has been most recently raised with regard to the exercise of discretion by the federal immigration authorities and Minister in favour of donors to the Liberal Party.[110]
            There is a danger that the AEC (Australian Electoral Commission) will swallow the corporate view that such fees are valuable consideration, shelled out as part of doing business in Australia. Indeed one AEC handbook states that ‘value [ie, consideration] includes gaining access to lobby government ministers’.[111] On that reasoning, even large-scale donations are simply ‘part of doing business’ and their tax deductibility as an ordinary business expense would be undeniable! No matter how perfect the disclosure system, if the sale of political favours is assimilated as an acceptable part of the ‘commerce’ of parties, then politics risks collapsing into a business, not a public service.

            Does anything look familiar here? This was in 2003, and the reform proposals outlined were considered to be a major step towards reducing the influence of direct lobbying in Australian politics.

        • by myowntrueself (607117) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @10:29AM (#38817849)

          And this is why lobbying and campaign contributions need to be outlawed.

          Unfortunately thats impossible to achieve through the democratic process.

          The people who make the laws are the ones who benefit most from this corruption. They cannot possibly fund an election campaign without huge amounts of cash from corporate donors. Any politician who stands up against this corruption won't get any campaign contributions and therefore they will effectively vanish from the political scene. There will be no media coverage of them. They won't be able to make any advertisements or phone campaigns or anything.

          No, I am afraid that the USA and much of the so-called democratic world are lost and the only way to fix the situation is through some kind of revolution.

          Look at voter turnout in the USA. Its abysmal. Why? I would argue that most people who do not vote either do not actually care whether they live in a democracy or not or they understand that they do not actually live in a democracy and that voting changes nothing. This is especially true in the USA which is, in effect, a one-party state. Democrat and Republican are basically two factions of one political party and shut all competition out of the process.

          Look at the way that the democratic system is so dampened by 'noise' that many elections in many parts of the world end up almost even matches with very close counts.

          What we have come to call 'democracy' in the western world actually makes a mockery of democracy.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by EdIII (1114411)

        You guys have it all backwards.

        Neither the US embassies, or the US govt is the MPAA's bitches. There is lobbying (read corruption) at play certainly with Senators, which generally as a rule, tend to be complete whores. You tell them this is the dick (the law written by the lobbyists), and to suck it (make it the law), the only thing they ask, "What do I get paid?". Senators do this because it is how they hold on to power, and enjoy the benefits that their positions provide.

        One of the reasons why all the

      • by mjwx (966435) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @10:47PM (#38814537)

        No, the US govt is the MPAA's bitch.

        More often then not, the AU govt is the US govt's bitch.

        Sad but true.

        Meanwhile, iinet, the ISP that was sued is going gang busters. They just adsorbed another significant Australian ISP, Internode and it's 100K customers.

    • by pla (258480) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @09:58PM (#38814213) Journal

      So, american embassies are MPAA's bitches ?

      Not quite - More like the entire US government will bend over for the highest bidder. The fact that embassies serve our interests abroad, and the MPAA can bid pretty damned high, counts as merely an incidental fact in this situation.

      Ironically enough, as a consequence, we may do better with the personally-richer candidate in any election, because it will cost more for them to take any potential buyer seriously. But at this point, it looks more and more like we have only one of the traditional "boxes" of democracy remaining.

      Seriously? We have Hollywood publicly admitting an expectation of quid pro quo for its "campaign contributions" and now this, and the government doesn't give the least bit of a flying fuck. Welcome to the end of the modern experiment. At least we went the "Marie Antoinette", rather than the "thermonuclear global holocaust", route.

      • by Nerdfest (867930)

        The number of posts mentioning revolution (on the sites I visit at least) has sky-rocketed in the last year or so. Between OWS, the banks, etc, trashing your economy, your government obviously bought by big businesses of one sort or another, and your jobs auctioned off overseas, I think it may be inevitable. If the government is paying attention, I'd expect a big push for some "anti-gun" legislation in the next couple of years.

        • by ohnocitizen (1951674) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @11:00PM (#38814651)
          Against the US military? Are you KIDDING? Guns won't do anything productive other than cost lives. IF this country somehow manages a revolution, it will NEED to be nonviolent.
          • by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @11:19PM (#38814807) Homepage Journal
            The military is not the problem, I imagine that most will not participate but rather join the resistance.

            What we have to worry about is the militarization of existing police forces and the rise of private security companies authorized to operate inside the U.S. There are large numbers of people who blindly obey anything authority tells them (thank you childhood-indoctrinated religion!) and will act as a snitch network of saboteurs alongside private military and the members of police forces who decided to turn traitor. People who look the slightest bit suspicious or out-of-place would be disappeared overnight.

            What is going on now is that all of the groundwork is being laid for the "Homeland Security" complex to be able to "manage disasters." They feed us with bullshit like "hurricanes" and "terrorist attacks," but their focus has unsurprisingly shifted towards the "lone wolf" terrorist - former soldiers who have witnessed their friends being turned into hamburger now have to come home to being groped up by TSA pigs and stopped at highway checkpoints(like those won't bring back memories of the war and trigger PTSD symptoms...).

            Legislation and political action are doing nothing for the common citizen. If things don't change and continue to get worse, I'll wager that the shit will hit the fan before 2020, and sooner than that if another false-flag attack happens. We could probably even see certain coastal states attempt to secede from the union.
          • a non-violent revolution can't happen anymore.

            ie, the ones in power simply handing over power?

            are you HIGH???

            once things get this bad, its gonna cost lives. lots and lots of them.

            its not what we want! but its what must happen if we are to restore balance to the world again. ...and I hope its outside my lifetime. I do NOT want to see this happen! but I do fear that it will happen, only a matter of 'when'.

        • Anti-gun legislation will never happen. We have reached the point of no return of accepting anymore limits on firearm ownership. To enact such a thing would require the government to try and disarm those who are currently very well armed. Also the US is still ranked the number 1 manufacturer in the world and there has been a slow but steady increase in over the past 4 years of foreign countries moving their manufacturing jobs back to the US. Being in the software development industry for over 26 years I hav
          • Anti-gun legislation will never happen.

            Nonsense! Get two more left-wing Supremes onto the Court, and the D.C. vs Heller decision would be overturned in a minute.

            And most of the Dems in both the Senate and House would be delighted to pass gun ban/registration/confiscation laws once they were sure the Supremes would be on their side.

    • More like their high-priced whores.

      For just $250,000, you too can have a special one-on-one encounter with your Congressmen! Just call 1-900-FREEDOM for more details!!

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @12:22AM (#38815247)

      The U.S. embassy did not actually play a role in this, and at no point in the cable do they say that they actually support this case, or plan on offering the MPAA any assistance. All they do was report back to Washington what the MPAA was up to, say they'd keep watch on how it developed. Anyway you don't have to take my word from it, here's the complete cable.

      C O N F I D E N T I A L CANBERRA 001197

      SIPDIS

      STATE PLEASE PASS USTR

      E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/01/2018
      TAGS: KIPR ECPS ECON ETRD AS
      SUBJECT: FILM/TV INDUSTRY FILES COPYRIGHT CASE AGAINST
      AUSSIE ISP

      REF: CANBERRA 1173 (NOTAL)

      Classified By: AMBASSADOR ROBERT D. MCCALLUM JR, REASON 1.4 (B, D)

      1. (C) Summary: On November 20 several media companies filed
      legal action against Australia's #3 internet service provider
      (ISP) iiNet, seeking a ruling that iiNet has infringed
      copyright by not taking reasonable steps to prevent
      unauthorized use of films and TV programs by its customers.
      This is the first such case filed in Australia. The case was
      filed by the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft
      (AFACT) on behalf of the Motion Picture Association of
      America (MPAA) and its international affiliate, the Motion
      Picture Association (MPA), but does not want that fact to be
      broadcasted. Initial reactions support MPAA's claim that it
      has a strong legal case. End Summary.

      A NEW LEGAL CHALLENGE AGAINST PIRACY AIMS AT ISP

      2. (U) On November 20 the Australian Federation Against
      Copyright Theft (AFACT) announced that several media firms
      had filed a case in the Federal Court of Australia against
      iiNet, Australia's third largest ISP, for "failing to take
      reasonable steps, including enforcing its own terms and
      conditions, to prevent known unauthorised use of copies of
      the companies' films and TV programs by iiNet's customers via
      its network." The action was filed by Village Roadshow (an
      Australian company that produces and distributes movies and
      DVDs, among other activities), Universal Pictures, Warner
      Brothers Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures
      Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., Disney
      Enterprises, and the Seven Network (one of Australia's three
      major over-the-air television networks and a licensee of some
      of the infringed works). Proceedings will be back before the
      court on December 17; a ruling is unlikely before the end of
      2009.

      3. (U) This is the first such case to be filed in Australian
      courts. iiNet claims that it is protected by the "safe
      harbor" provisions of the Copyright Act - i.e., ISPs are
      merely common carriers of traffic, so the dispute is between
      copyright owners and violators. iiNet said in its media
      release response that it routinely turns over to the police
      evidence of piracy on its network.

      THE REST OF THE STORY

      4. (C) Despite the lead role of AFACT and the inclusion of
      Australian companies Village Roadshow and the Seven Network,
      this is an MPAA/American studios production. Mike Ellis, the
      Singapore-based President for Asia Pacific of the Motion
      Picture Association, briefed Ambassador on the filing on
      November 26. Ellis confirmed that MPAA was the mover behind
      AFACT's case (AFACT is essentially MPAA's Australian
      subcontractor; MPAA/MPA have no independent, formal presence
      here), acting on behalf of the six American studios involved.
      MPAA prefers that its leading role not be made public.
      AFACT and MPAA worked hard to get Village Roadshow and the
      Seven Network to agree to be the public Australian faces on
      the case to make it clear there are Australian equities at
      stake, and this isn't just Hollywood "bullying some poor
      little Australian ISP."

      5. (C) Why iiNet? Ellis said they were the right target on
      several levels. First, they are big enough to be important -
      iiNet is the third largest ISP in Australia. (Telstra,
      owners of top Australian ISP BigPond which has about half of
      the market, are t

  • Sanctioned: Give official permission or approval for (an action). Impose a sanction or penalty on.

    Conspiracy: A secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful. The action of plotting or conspiring.

    I just read the cable, and nowhere in there is there any "sanctioning" going on. Conspiracy? Guess that depends on your point of view.

    • by mjwx (966435)

      Conspiracy: A secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful. The action of plotting or conspiring.

      I cant read the cable at work but...

      Conspiracy certainly fits. It was a plan to do something harmful and unlawful in many was too. Their entire plan was to force compliance to their rules by attempting to financially punish companies. The fact that this did not work doesn't change their intent.

      • I can't read the cable from the link in the article linked to in the summary. You start reading and all of a sudden up pops a plea for money and a video supporting same. I'm sure it could be easily circumvented but damn, hard to get the word out when you won't let readers read the damn cable. Yes, I know, the world needs money (as do Assange and Wikileaks) to go round and round but blocking the important information (to some) is counter productive to what they're trying to accomplish.

        Here is the link:

        htt [wikileaks.org]

      • harmful and unlawful

        That's the key phrase here.

        So, harmful? Yeah, financially punishing companies is harmful.

        Illegal? Haven't seen any real evidence of that...

        Yet.

        Until you do, it's not a conspiracy either.

    • by russotto (537200)

      Agreed, there's no sanctioning here. The MPAA told the US Ambassador to Australia what it was up to -- including the fact that the MPAA was the real principal in the lawsuit despite the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft being the official one. I doubt anyone reading Slashdot is shocked in more than a Claude Raines sense about that.

      The Ambassador then reported this fact to the higher-ups in Washington, DC. In the cable, he does not take a position on the case.

      Why would the MPAA tell the US Amb

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @09:55PM (#38814183)

    As I post this, it's almost 10:00am on Wednesday, January 24 in Perth, Australia where iiNet is headquartered.

    How many Aussies will take to the streets after reading this? Ehhhh... there's one! Oh, that's just a pedestrian... how about that one?!! Nope. Going to his car.

    (sound of crickets)

    (fade to black)

    • (sound of crickets) [youtube.com]

      (fade to black)

      FTFY.

    • Re:Right on time! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by grcumb (781340) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @10:59PM (#38814647) Homepage Journal

      (sound of crickets)

      Well, I don't know about Perth, but in Ballarat last week, Ben Powell delivered an excellent run-down on the status of the AFACT v iiNet case [youtube.com] to a fairly large and very interested audience.

    • Re:Right on time! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Cimexus (1355033) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @11:01PM (#38814653)

      Well keep in mind that iiNet, in the end, won its case. If they'd lost, and then this was revealed, then perhaps there would be a bit more of an outcry. So our least our courts gave the MPAA a bit of a smackdown...

      (Not to mention the fact that I'd read this story in the newspaper at least three or four days ago, Slashdot is slow on the uptake!)

    • by OzPeter (195038)

      How many Aussies will take to the streets after reading this?

      Well after seeing the story here I forwarded it onto my cousin who is a state member of the Greens. So I can say that at least 1 politician will have seen it.

      • by OzPeter (195038)

        Hmm in hindsight .. "Member" doesn't sound like I meant it to. I meant a member of the Greens party and not a Member for the Greens. Sorry for any confusion.

    • Re:Right on time! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ignavus (213578) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @02:32AM (#38815853)

      How many Aussies will take to the streets after reading this? Ehhhh... there's one! Oh, that's just a pedestrian... how about that one?!! Nope. Going to his car.

      Like most Australians, I don't live anywhere near Perth. However, I did recently switch to iiNet as my ISP, and its fight against the Powers of Darkness has made me very pleased with the switch - aside from the fact that they are a good ISP in general. I feel like I am backing the right crowd.

      iiNet has been winning in court so far, so being their customer and recommending them to other people is a practical way of supporting them.

  • by zAPPzAPP (1207370) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @09:55PM (#38814189)

    Passing laws backed by the MPAA is usually a detriment to the victim country's economy (as seen with SOPA) and the quality of life in that country for it's citizens, which will make them unhappy with their government (as rising anger about these laws indicates).

    As such it can be seen as economic and political sabotage of foreign countries.

    For the US embassy to take part in that, couldn't this seen as a hostile act by the victim country?

    • by Kinky Bass Junk (880011) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @09:58PM (#38814219)

      For the US embassy to take part in that, couldn't this seen as a hostile act by the victim country?

      Only if said victim country wasn't already the US' bitch.

    • by Baloroth (2370816)

      Huh? The lawsuit would have to pass muster under the Australian legal system. This is a lawsuit, not a new law. It isn't like we are overtly saying they have to follow a foreign law (which would be a violation of sovereignty). You might argue that the US has influenced law a certain way, but again, the Aussies themselves would have to actually pass the law. Therefore, no, this could not be seen that way.

      Unless it could be shown that the intent was to undermine the economy. Evil as the MPAA is, that isn't t

      • by Rennt (582550) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @02:43AM (#38815887)

        This is a lawsuit, not a new law.

        They were trying to establish a common-law precedent. North Americans seem to be thrown by this a lot (overly fixated on the Constitution is my guess). But in a country using the Common Law [wikipedia.org] system, that IS a new law. Hence the selection of a soft target in a smaller economy.

        Honestly... this was all covered in the summary.

  • The government is spending your tax money to subvert the laws of a foreign nation in order to increase the profits of a domestic business. I suppose this is considered "pro business" by the neo-conservative types and applauded.

    • by wierd_w (1375923) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @10:14PM (#38814335)

      I would say its worse than that.

      I live in the US. Our major exports are IP (movies, recordings, blueprints, and software all together in one group), raw food stuffs, military equipment/aviation goodies, and bad legislation.

      Eg, other than corrupt factory farm operations, (why's the park smell so stinky mommy? That's just the columbia meat packing plant on the hill dear.) And aerospace + military industrial (lockheed martin, boeing, and pals), intellectual property is about the only relevant industry the US has, other than bullshit like the bank and loan infrastructure.

      This is why politicians are all too happy to take bribes err.... "campaign contributions" from those industries, and why they are treated like sacred cows in terms of regulatory compliance issues, and in terms of getting carte blanc with proposing legislation.

      The US is anemic as hell. My government knows it. They want golden parachutes for when the shit hits, so they stay cuddly with multinationals.

  • by AnotherAnonymousUser (972204) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @10:06PM (#38814265)
    Asking a question for the community here: how did Hollywood get the kind of power and leverage that it has? As a major source of media I can see how it would be valued by government but the stories you hear these days of the lobbying power and secret international cables that surface make it seem like they are constantly overstepping the norms of most other industries.

    How did it get to the state that it's now, and why is government working so hard to protect media interests internationally so often? Is it the size of Hollywood and consequent lobbying power, a belief that Hollywood is a/the important industry to protect, or something else? Hollywood seems to receive the most benefit from all copyright laws and protections, so how did they get to this amount of power that they can exert this much control over legislation? Even in the old days I know they had the ratings boards that could strong arm quite a lot of policies.

    If anyone has any good histories to relate here or relevant anecdotes, please post below!
    • by zAPPzAPP (1207370) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @10:21PM (#38814381)

      Other industries certainly possess as much power. The defence industry is involved a lot when it comes to foreign policies (who gets to buy which weapons, which decides the fate of entire countries).
      Big oil companies too can get what they want easily, for example rights to drill wherever they want.

      But in those cases it is real power, created by the scarcity and importance of their products. They don't need to push for laws, or do extreme lobbying, because they already wield that power and no one is going to take it from them soon.

      The power of media companies is mostly artificial. No on really needs them, they created the demand for their services themselves.
      That must be why they push so hard for laws. It's a desperate move to tie themselves into everything, so they can't be easily disposed off.

    • by ckaminski (82854)
      They have video of all the orgies with the hookers and blow.

      By the BALLS man!
    • by wierd_w (1375923) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @10:54PM (#38814603)

      Time for some Peabody's improbable history, so step into the wayback machine Sherman, and let's look at the US as it was 100 years ago.

      In 1912, the US was a heavily invested industrial nation, specializing in steel, oil refinement, textiles, industrial machinery, and scientific advancements. It had reached this status through the addage "you get what you pay for", and "the american way." (Which back then meant taking pride in your work, producing only quality goods, and being judged by the quality of your work and of your word. This motif was euphamistically referred to as free market capitalism, since it relied on heavy competition between stakeholders to provide only the finest goods at prices that were reasonable, and the buyers bought for quality and durability. Your products directly influenced your brand's desirability.)

      Over the course of the next 30 to 40 years, these industries vied heavily with one another, eliminating competition, and then reached a certain threshold where they realized that competing with one another was counter productive to producing profits. This is pre rico act, pre sherman act. These idustries had established a thriving local enconomy based on quality goods, which people had become accustomed to buying, and which had greatly improved the quality of living of their native demographic populations. As such, worker wages had gone up, unions had formed, and other "this hurts our profits" influences surfaced. (Additionally, the depression caused many contenders to go under, allowing for a "land grab" by the survivors, accellerating the development of the oligopoly.)

      At first, these companies agreed to not poach each other's profits through initiating pricewars, and instead agreed that they would increase the wealth of their directors and financiers through the reduction of quality in the merchandise produced. As quality dropped, the need for employees that had grown up on an ethic for perfection waned, and with that, the ethic itself also waned. Eventually, the only real characteristic that differentiated a us worker from a cheap foriegn one was the price of employment.

      Skip ahead another 30 to 40 years, after the momentary military industrial booms of the 30s and 40s, to the 60s and 70s. "Deregulation" was the buzzword. Restrictions that had been put in place to protect american citizens from corporate interests were discarded like used toilet paper. Trade tarrifs dropped like sleezy curtains at a peep show. Outsourcing began.

      Over the next 30 to 40 years, most of america's manufacturing industry had flown the coop, electing to capitalize on the post free love generation's niavite' and inherited buying power with cheaply made foreign built products. Buying american made started getting much much harder. Even commodity items like clothes and shoes couldn't compete with the cheaper, and often inferior foriegn labor that was made protiable by dropping the trade tarrif walls. The old vangard of US corporate power had officially left the US.

      In the wake of the second world war, the US motion picture and recording industries sprang into being, thanks to the developments in film and radio technologies, coupled with the obvious propoganda potentials of those mediums. In the ww2 and post era, these industries flourished while the old industrial center declined. The US work ethic had diminished to such an extent by the 60s, that entertainment and pleasure were basically the primary motivational force in people's lives. The idolization of hollywood actors and actresses really came alive. This generation was blinded by hollywood and television, greedily assimilated the "disposable goods" philosophy, and the media industry grew like crazy. (There is no coincidence that this is the golden age of filmography and music in the US. The vast majority of holdings of those industries were created during this time frame. It was a perfect storm for the entertainment industry.) During this time, the technology to really export entertainment to other countries came into

    • by siddesu (698447)

      Hollywood helped the US government win two wars for the "hearts and the minds" -- the WWII, mostly domestically, and the Cold war internationally. It has been the most important piece of the propaganda machine available to the US government for nearly seven decades.

      If you want the full story, Lawrence Lessig has a good and free book on the open culture with a chapter or two dedicated to the topic.

  • Role of Mark Arbib? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @10:29PM (#38814425)

    And what role did Mark Arbib play? He is an Australian senator, who is essentially a US spy. The wikileaks cables have revealed that he is in the habit of revealing secret information to the US embassy, to the extent that that the US assigned him a code name as an informant. Has Arbib been behind the scenes doing the MPAA/US government's bidding, shoring up sympathy in the Australian government?

  • by AbRASiON (589899) * on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @10:43PM (#38814509) Journal

    Regardless, it's things like this which makes Wikileaks absoloutely a very very important web site for the entire internet. I'm very glad this information has been revealed.

    • Yes, I still think that Assange is a dangerous, mentally ill douchebag, but OTOH, there is no denying the public benefit of seeing some of these cables (as embarrasing and damaging as that may be to the US' legitimate interests).

      I don't donate a cent to WikiLeaks, but they deserve at least a little credit.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @12:07AM (#38815147)

        I still think that Assange is a dangerous, mentally ill douchebag

        The guy risks his life and freedom to bring information to us, the people. If what it takes to do that is a "dangerous, mentally ill douchebag" maybe the world needs more dangerous, mentally ill douchebags*.

        * although I agree he poses a danger to abusive governments and corporations around the world, what mental gymnastics did you do to conclude he is mentally ill (or are you his doctor?)? I think calling Assange a douchebag must be the cool thing to do because whenever Wikileaks pops up (even if tangentially) there are always some idiots who can't stop telling everyone how this Assange guy they have never met is such huge douche.

  • Why the MAFIAA's dealings with the US Government isn't considered corruption is utterly beyond me.

    It isn't 'corrupt' in the eyes of the law, but to ordinary people, it certainly smacks of corruption.

    We can't expect it to be criminalised any time soon either, because the legislators who would be responsible for this have a massive conflict of interest.

  • It's worse than that (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tick-tock-atona (1145909) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @10:55PM (#38814617)

    According to documents released under Freedom of Information [pirateparty.org.au], the Attorney-General wants a "solution" to "be educative and aim to change the social norms."

    That's right. They want to force "education" onto the population to make them want to prop up the content industry's failing business models.

    Of course, only industry groups were invited to this meeting [delimiter.com.au]. I have to say, Ludlam is the reason that I voted greens in the last election.

  • by powerspike (729889) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @11:21PM (#38814829)

    A precedent set in Australia would be influential in countries with comparable legal systems such as Canada, India, New Zealand and Great Britain. Australian telecommunications giant Telstra was judged too large for the purposes of the attack. Owing to its smaller size and more limited resources, iiNet was gauged the perfect candidate.

    So pretty much, iinet walked away a winner from the trial, so the this Precedent for all other nations going to do be a good thing. iinet was passing the "infrigement notices" onto the police, which from my understand decided not to do anything about them (not enough evidance). This was taken as enough action on the part of iiNet and now the content studios are appealing the decision, which is still going. But from the results of the first trial, it looks like they aren't going to be able to "save face" at all. Sometimes, they can stuff themselves up, and this is one of them.

  • Yep..... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NetNed (955141) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @11:23PM (#38814845)
    Then you have Pres. Obama throwing in to tonight's State of The Union that "It’s not right when another country lets "OUR" movies, music, and software be pirated".

    All fits the bill of our politicians being lap dogs for media makers and that things like SOPA and PIPA need to be continued to be rallied against because they are trying still going to try and push them through.
  • They sure want to go after those pirates. But their actions sure want to make me into a pirate. Guess that reverse psychology stuff does work...

  • by Karmashock (2415832) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @12:42AM (#38815337)

    It seems like five seconds after you tell them anything it becomes international news.

    Remember that pakistani group that wanted to form an alliance with the US to squeeze out the military faction? Well, they're all running for their lives now because the instant they told the US State Department it was all over the nightly news.

    Forget the issue of the moment here, what we're looking at is a state department leaking everything they're given.

    That means it's impossible to conduct diplomacy with the US. THAT is a much bigger problem then some stupid MPAA conspiracy to create a precedent in Australia.

    State Department needs to get their shit together now. I don't know who's fault this is and I don't care. It doesn't matter. Fix it.

  • Old News (Score:3, Informative)

    by foxed (152267) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @02:45AM (#38815897)

    Sigh.

    This was news in August 2011.

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/08/31/afact_subcontractor_to_mpaa/ [theregister.co.uk]

  • by Skythe (921438) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @12:06PM (#38818839)
    Since this article is about iiNet and people have been talking about SOPA, I thought it a good idea to post this article published on the official iiNet blog yesterday about SOPA: http://blog.iinet.net.au/sopa-internet-censorship-effort-beginning/

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