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Australian ISP iiNet Walks Out of Piracy Warning System Talks 120

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the good-luck-pirating-with-data-caps dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Torrent Freak: "A leading Australian Internet service provider has pulled out of negotiations to create a warning notice scheme aimed at reducing online piracy. iiNet, the ISP that was sued by Hollywood after refusing to help chase down alleged infringers, said that it can't make any progress with rightsholders if they don't make their content freely available at a reasonable price. The ISP adds that holding extra data on customers' habits is inappropriate and not their responsibility."
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Australian ISP iiNet Walks Out of Piracy Warning System Talks

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  • Good on them. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by crafty.munchkin (1220528) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @06:10AM (#42323593)
    As an Aussie, I approve of them making a stand against how everyone in this country is ripped off by all the media outlets - especially when our dollar is worth more than the US dollar. And as for making us wait 3-6 months because they don't want us watching... well, the internet tore down that time barrier as well.
    • Re:Good on them. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by lilrobbie (1193045) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @06:14AM (#42323607)

      These guys have been doing this for years as well. I actually have kept overbuying my broadband allocations (I use probably 20% a month) simply because they have been so honest and decent. Good service... and they have gone to bat for my rights every time. iiNet is changing the shape of Aussie ISPs, doing a wonderful job keeping Telstra/Optus and co. honest. The others see iiNet back out, and suddenly realise you can say no to the media industry on unrealistic or overly power-hungry requests.

      I don't work for them... just a very satisfied consumer of their services.

      • Re:Good on them. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by tezbobobo (879983) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @11:11AM (#42325569) Homepage Journal
        They've been my ISP for almost a decade now and I will continue to support them for exactly the same reason. I think it is amazing that you get companies that spout the "do no evil" crap, and here is iiNet just going about its business doing right by their clients. Good on ya iiNet. Disclaimer: I don't work for iiNet, but I did apply for a job there once. Disclaimer 2: They phoned me but did not give me an interview. We're till on good terms though.
        • While I appreciate iiNet's business ethics there is a clear profit link here. As an ISP they benefit greatly by having a world that allows their customers to download as much as possible, legitimately or otherwise.

          As usual the summary is deliberately misleading. Their stated reasons are for not participating are;

          * they don't want to absorb the cost
          * they don't want a scheme that requires them to store information on their customers (bad PR)
          * they don't want to be seen as the enforcer (bad PR)

          All financi

          • by tezbobobo (879983)
            Ha! That's what they want you to think. I wont believe it - deep down they are good people too!
    • Re:Good on them. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Arker (91948) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @06:22AM (#42323671) Homepage
      I would love to see a US ISP take the same stances, but it's actually easier for them to do it in au, precisely because Hollywood is so used to treating y'all as 'secondary markets' to be abused, which fact tends to swing the nationalist vote in on the side of the angels. If Hollywood were located outside Sydney I am sure they would never have the balls to stand up to them.
      • Re:Good on them. (Score:5, Informative)

        by erroneus (253617) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @08:47AM (#42324265) Homepage

        A US ISP would find itself destroyed just in legal fees. To survive such an assault, the 'free[dom] lawyers groups' would have to be standing by to take up the defense of any rebelious ISP in the US.

        It would all get real ugly real fast. And in the US, media companies are often also ISPs or are very closely connected to them as many offer TV services as well as telephone and internet. So any ISP who fits that profile would find themselves unable to offer TV services shortly thereafter.

        • by dbIII (701233)
          That is what appears to have been attempted with legal action against iiNet over the past few years but the Judge threw it out before things got ridiculously expensive. Over here Judges are just lawyers that have a few miles on the clock and not people that have to stand for election and adhere to a party line. That means there's little or no influence that large donors to political parties can use against a Judge.
      • by heypete (60671)

        sonic.net is pretty solid in that regard.

        Disclaimer: family members are sonic customers but otherwise neither I nor anyone I know have any interest in the company.

    • Re:Good on them. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Gaygirlie (1657131) <gaygirlie AT hotmail DOT com> on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @06:26AM (#42323687) Homepage

      Damn. That must be the ONLY honest, customer-friendly ISP on the whole planet. Cling to them like your lives depended on it!

      • Is it wrong that I left them because they screwed me over in other ways (hey, they are an ISP, after all!)?
      • Re:Good on them. (Score:5, Informative)

        by Nerdfest (867930) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @06:40AM (#42323761)

        TekSavvy in Canada is a similar provider. Vote with your dollars folks.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        That type of service is actually quite common from Aussie ISP's, not of all of them though. Having worked at iiNet and other Aussie ISP's myself, I know first hand how such an excellent enviroment iiNet and some of the others are, not only for customers but for staff too. Especially iiNet - you should see the (new) iiNet offices: http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2012/06/inside-iinets-perth-hq-bob-fruit-finn/

        Oh, and the title to this article/thread is misleading: Aussies have had unlimited plans for ages now, an

      • by jampola (1994582)
        I haven't lived in Aus for a few years now but there are quite a lot of honest ISP back home. I remmeber Exetel, Westnet and a few others who were quite good. I am looking forward to seeing how that whole purely wholesale fibre ISP will go.
        • FYI, iiNet has taken over most of the good ones, including Westnet. Their last marketing campaign was based around the slogan "We're number two". Not referring to the fact that they were sh!t (number 2) except ironically, but instead saying that they'd achieved the second largest market share of broadband after Telstra (the Australian company that had a virtual telco monopoly) DISCLAIMER: My housemate works for iiNet and I've been a long term customer.
      • by oobayly (1056050)

        In the UK there's Andrews and Arnold [aaisp.net]. Native IPv6, excellect monitoring (I get an SMS when the line goes down and back up), and genuinely knowledgeable people. They cost extra, but for me it's well worth it.

        Their opinions on filtering [aaisp.net] are quite interesting too (my emphasis):

        ...There is a lot of nasty stuff on the Internet as well as useful content. This is, however, your responsibility and not something we are offering. There are many packages available for various operating systems.

        We do not have any black boxes designed to filter or monitor traffic and you are welcome to ask RevK on irc if this is still true at any time and take a lack of reply or evasive reply as you wish. Obviously we will ask if the law requires us to actually lie if ever we are subject to such legislation, and if not this statement would be removed. It is an interesting point as the statement that we are not filtering or monitoring is done for financial gain (to get customers) so if we were required to lie under RIPA we would be committing an offence under the Fraud Act. A debate to be had if ever it happens. You can probably get a clue if ever we dissolve the company and move all the contracts to a new company at any time...

      • Sweden has Bahnhof [bahnhof.se].
    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      Even with piracy it's more profitable to screw you. Sure, they could sell you a DRM free high quality video file the second it finishes airing in the US, but then they couldn't sell it to some Australian channel that will pay even more for it.

      Well, perhaps... No one has actually tried giving you what you want with a major TV show, so perhaps it would work. Broadcast TV is already dying, relegated to being little more than a release platform for people's DVRs and BitTorrent clients.

    • I hope they succeed in getting content available cheaply online.

      The Torrent Freak article should read "iiNet, the ISP that was unsuccessfully sued by Hollywood after refusing to help chase down alleged infringers".

  • Good news! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by It took my meds (1843456) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @06:15AM (#42323629)

    I'm so glad I'm with iiNet; they take a stand for me as a consumer. I don't pirate anything, nor do I view content that is outside the norms of adult society, however my browsing habits are not other people's business - especially corporate entities!

    • Re:Good news! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @07:53AM (#42324065)

      I'm so glad I'm with iiNet; they take a stand for me as a consumer. I don't pirate anything, nor do I view content that is outside the norms of adult society, however my browsing habits are not other people's business - especially corporate entities!

      No disrespect intended, but there isn't anything special about that. You are just like the vast majority of other internet users. It's high time that the media companies and the government get that through their head.

      Should everyone be "tracked like an animal" on the internet just because some people abuse it? No. Same goes for the advertisers who think tracking everybody is their god given right.

  • Congratulations (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cffrost (885375) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @06:19AM (#42323649) Homepage

    My congratulations to Australians for having an ISP that stands up for the interests of its customers.

    I wonder if we could ever get something like that in the United States? Haha, I'm just kidding... I know we can't.

    However, I wish you all the best in keeping iiNet—particularly, resisting pressure and bullying tactics from my country's government and its corporate controllers.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      > My congratulations to Australians for having an ISP that stands up for the interests of its customers.

      I am not a customer of iiNet, but rather Internode, which was recently bought by iiNet. I chose Internode because they use Linux themselves, they don't care if you use a Linux desktop as a customer, and they have a great unmetered mirror for FOSS software:

      http://mirror.internode.on.net/pub/

      I can get 62,000+ packages for my desktop Linux distribution (Kubuntu 12.10) available as un-metered download (so

      • by Tsingi (870990)
        It's a rare ISP that doesn't use Linux.
        • by dbIII (701233)
          However it's a rare ISP that supports linux if their customers are connecting that way.
          • by Tsingi (870990)
            I built an ISP in 1993, to get on the Internet. There was no other way. Used Linux too. Damn right, fresh out of the box.
            When I moved to Ottawa, I got a connection with Rogers. They were pretty good back then. Let me have a dedicated IP, they had a news server. Actually they farmed to Giganews, but that's cool.
            It stopped working one day. Man, it just stopped!
            Imagine my amusement when I phoned up and the techie (I use the term loosley) told me that you can't get on the Internet with Linux? I ha
            • by dbIII (701233)
              I've had hassles due to some problem at the ISP end (eg. change of address of name servers one time, change of username by a change of policy another time) and frequent line quality problems, but any attempts to get it resolved hit a roadblock when the "Windows or Mac?" question came up. It's nice to have an ISP that doesn't kick you off or expect you to lie at that point, and in Australia at least there's only 2 or 3 ISPs that would let you get past that tech support roadblock without connecting up a Micr
    • Re:Congratulations (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Chewbacon (797801) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @06:51AM (#42323809)
      Nah, the dollar is so much sweeter than consumer rights when you're a big business. And most people don't mind having their rights taken away from them!
    • My congratulations to Australians for having an ISP that stands up for the interests of its customers. I wonder if we could ever get something like that in the United States? Haha, I'm just kidding... I know we can't.

      There are ISPs like that in the United States like that one. It just depends on where you live, and if you took the time to do your research. [broadbandreports.com]

      I assume it's the same in Australia. Since Australia is huge too, I'll bet that most aussies couldn't get iinet even if they wanted to.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Australia is generally DSL and cable in select areas.

        DSL is unbundled although you get better speeds and caps if your isp is not reselling telstra wholesale.

        iinet have a presence in tons of telephone exchanges i.e their own DSLAM's as do at least 5 other major providers.

        Even if your exchange is Telstra wholesale only, almost any ISP can resell it although the plans are nowhere near as good they are still quite livable.

        At my local telephone exchange I have 6 DSLAM providers available.

        iinet is the 2nd largest

      • by Sabriel (134364)

        There are ISPs like that in the United States like that one. It just depends on where you live, and if you took the time to do your research. [broadbandreports.com]

        I assume it's the same in Australia. Since Australia is huge too, I'll bet that most aussies couldn't get iinet even if they wanted to.

        Actually, mostly we can. Australia has not been carved up into fiefdoms by the big telcos like the US has, though the suits certainly tried (and tried, and tried, and are still trying). And that was actually in

    • ...I wonder if we could ever get something like that in the United States? Haha, I'm just kidding... I know we can't...

      Fire all the MBAs. Or, at least, insist they have some grounding in ethics as part of their curriculum.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @06:37AM (#42323743)

    If you don't live here, in Australia - you don't understand.

    We get gouged, delayed or denied on a lot.

    Last week I bought a Steinberg Cubase 7 upgrade. A DOWNLOAD product - I paid $199. It's $149 to US customers. That's a typical situation for us. It's always the same story in this country. The distributors/retailers (whether they be television channels, bricks and mortar sellers or whatever), they control the price through publisher->retailer relationship and that means we get it when they want, for the price they want and fuck you if you don't want to pay for their shitty overheads.

    If I want games off steam, often,I have to pay up to 90 US for a release title. Not steam's fault.

    If I wanted to watch the final season of sopranos legitimately (and believe me, I tried), I saw something like 2 episodes, then it went away for about a month, came back for another couple of episodes and it was gone again. Typical television patronage, here. My response? What am I supposed to do? Hang out for the tv guide, every week? Sorry, you created my desire to watch your program and I'm now going to watch it.

    If I want to watch English Premier League games online (because I can't afford the $70-80 a month for all inclusive pay tv) - I'm only able to watch a few games of someone elses choice through their online service because like so many things online, currently, the content just goes to whoever will front for it. Telstra own the rights to online rugby league coverage in this country - they do next to NOTHING with it.

    I could go on with hours of fragments of information and complaints on the situation and I'm sure the grass is green here in many ways - but it is a little frustrating to have to constantly circumvent the legitimate purchase method (whether it be through downloading the product for free, or buying it at a grey import seller) - just so I can't feel like a chump for paying twice the price everybody else on earth does.

    And let's get something straight - I PREFER to buy. Steam completely and utterly destroyed piracy for me. I love it. But what I don't love is how the shitheads running unprofitable stores contributing fuck all to my gaming life necessitate that I can't buy a game for the price retailers in the rest of the world sell it for.

    • by isorox (205688)

      If I wanted to watch the final season of sopranos legitimately (and believe me, I tried), I saw something like 2 episodes, then it went away for about a month, came back for another couple of episodes and it was gone again. Typical television patronage, here. My response? What am I supposed to do? Hang out for the tv guide, every week? Sorry, you created my desire to watch your program and I'm now going to watch it.

      We had this through the 90s in the uk, so people like me downloaded the episodes (starting off on 56k modems at about 128kbit)

      Then sky caught on and now episodes are broadcast within a week of u.s. airings (some series we had the episodes before the u.s!)

      However we don't bother any more, too much hassle, we simply wait for the DVDs to come out. Just finished watching Sanctuary, and have reached season 7 of 24 (we gave up when it left the BBC after day 2). We do lose something in the lack of cliffhangers, bu

      • Then sky caught on and now episodes are broadcast within a week of u.s. airings (some series we had the episodes before the u.s!)

        The stuff we got before the US always tended to be because the US insist on having a mid-season break whereas we generally don't. So the start of the series came a couple of weeks after the US showed it, and then the US went into their mid-season break and we overtook them for the second half.

        However we don't bother any more, too much hassle, we simply wait for the DVDs to come out. Just finished watching Sanctuary, and have reached season 7 of 24 (we gave up when it left the BBC after day 2). We do lose something in the lack of cliffhangers, but the lack of adverts, the lack of faff of downloading, and the instant availability when and where we want, more than makes up for it.

        We occasionally dip back into TV -- we watched Terra Nova last year. Just got into it, and then it was cancelled. By waiting a few years we can see when a series is worthwhile buying.

        I gave up my Sky subscription years ago. I realised that I was basically only watching 2 or 3 programmes on Sky, and for that had to pay £20/month for 60 channels I wasn't interested in. Cheaper to buy the DVD

    • by Hyperhaplo (575219) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @07:01AM (#42323861)

      Americans have a similar situation.
      http://theoatmeal.com/comics/game_of_thrones [theoatmeal.com]

      • Americans have a similar situation.
        http://theoatmeal.com/comics/game_of_thrones [theoatmeal.com]

        Americans are not the only ones. I generally try to pay for stuff that I feel is worth watching, listening to or running. Pirating takes too long, the quality is often crap, and pirated stuff is riddled with malware. That cartoon is basically the story of what happened when I tried to pay for the privilege of watching Season 2, except most of these services that cartoon character tried are "... unfortunately unable to finalize the transaction due to geographical restrictions" even when the stuff I want is a

      • by Phrogman (80473) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @07:39AM (#42324011) Homepage

        Yes given that you need to pay for Cable up here in Canada, then pay for specialty channels etc, someone in another forum post worked out that watching Game of Thrones would cost you something around $1000 Cdn. I can't recall the math but its hardly impossible.
        I don't have cable at the moment and haven't had it for most of the past 3 years - except when the Olympics are on or something similar - because the bulk of the programming is complete shit and not worth watching, and the few shows that I do consider worth watching are only available if I subscribe to specialty channel packages that are arranged to maximize Shaw's profits (although Telus is no better), not to be convenient to the customer. TV is simply not worth bothering with. Oh and of course I now no longer have to endure ads.
        If I need to watch something, there are DvDs. In the end its far cheaper to download the content, or go buy the content, or take it out of the library than it is to sign up for cable TV.
        Netflix and the iOS BBC app are a godsend for good programs. This is the way to go for the future IMHO.

        The content producers are pricing themselves out of the market and making consuming their content so difficult that potential customers chose other means - sometimes illegally downloading that content. If it was priced effectively and conveniently a *lot* of those users would choose to pay for it. Instead they present as many obstacles to viewing their content as I can conceive possible.
        Bad marketing strategy is bad and doomed to fail.

        • f it was priced effectively and conveniently a *lot* of those users would choose to pay for it.

          Indeed.

          A typical series is 20 to 25 episodes.

          There are plenty of series I would happily pay £2 per eposide to download it instantly and watch real time (1 episode per week). Of course, I would never pay £40-£50 to buy the boxed series, but £2 for a decent fraction of an evening's entertainment is excellent value.

          To be able to pay £2 and even get full SD

        • I've ranted it before.. so won't go again.. but.. all I want is to but something once, be able to download it whenever I need to, and be able to play it whenever I want to.

          One day it will be like that. Quite possibly first in the illegal realm, then later in the legal realm. Until then we just have to do what we can with what we have where we are.

          $1000 Cdn? Geez. And I thought excess data charges were terrible

    • Re: Steam.
      VPN to the US for $5 per month and buy at their rates. First purchase you make saves more than enough compared to the AUS price.

      Obviously this is against the ToS, but it's better than 2x game price. Further, only buy sale items, and check the price of sale items against other retailers. I've seen items for £14.99 on Steam which were under £10.00 on Amazon / Play. It's not always the cheapest, but it is often the most convenient.
    • by alen (225700)

      Ten to one odds its your shitty government passing protectionist laws and high taxes

    • by EvilIdler (21087)

      I don't buy music software from people who do regional pricing AND awful DRM ;)

      Ableton give me dollar prices (and dual-platform licenses!), PreSonus show local currency at the current exchange rate. Apple charge US prices+VAT for Logic, and recalculate the tier prices on their app stores now and then. I don't recommend supporting a company which charges such wildly different prices in different regions. There's no one company with a choke hold on DAWs :)

      Steam is generally good, but I've just stopped support

    • I could go on with hours of fragments of information and complaints on the situation and I'm sure the grass is green here in many ways

      Nowhere is perfect, but if we pay a little more for stuff but don't have to worry as much about being murdered by some idiot with automatic weapons then I'll take that :)

    • that gives the location as the US

      Although maybe some sites check IP adresses as well or instead.

  • Sign me up (Score:4, Interesting)

    by oodaloop (1229816) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @06:41AM (#42323765)
    Do they have service in eastern USA?
  • by asifyoucare (302582) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @06:53AM (#42323817)

    I'm waiting for NBN (national broadband network) availability in my area. I will use iiNet as the retailer because I want an ISP that treats me as a CUSTOMER, a customer to be valued, and not sold down the river after the slightest legal threat by big media. Who knows what other demands those other ISPs are complying with, against the interests of their customers.

    I don't care if they cost a little extra. Being treated properly is worth it to me, and also I don't mind supporting someone who is fighting the good fight.

  • "freely available at a reasonable price."

    How does that work out? Free as in open formats?

    Thanks.

    • Re:The content (Score:5, Insightful)

      by serviscope_minor (664417) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @07:45AM (#42324037) Journal

      How does that work out?

      Not laden with ungodly amounts of DRM and silly timing restrictions?

      The trouble is that not only is pirated content free, it's also better, because of the lack of DRM, and lack of silly timing restrictions.

      If you torrent, you get it *now* and can put it on a media server, transcode it for your phone, pause, skip the ads (as it were), etc etc.

      If you pay, not only do you have to wait a lot longer, you also get a worse product for your troubles. I once purchased a DVD of Castle which was laden with some lame attempt at extra copy protection. Basically, they split the DVD files up into teeny slices. The results it that the DVD player would occasionally pause for a visible fraction of a second between some of the odder transitions and the forward and backwards seeking wouldn't work properly.

      Nice.

      So, I did wait, and I did pay, and I got treated like a complete crook and sold a heap of crap which was a far worse experience than if I had downloaded it.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        So, I did wait, and I did pay, and I got treated like a complete crook and sold a heap of crap which was a far worse experience than if I had downloaded it.

        Even better, if you live in one of the countries where ripping the DVD is illegal even if you have a legal right to format shift, because the act of circumventing the protection is itself illegal regardless, then while you can fix the problem by ripping to a file, you can't legally do so.

    • by lexa1979 (2020026)
      "freely available" as in "available from/for any country, over any TCP/IP connection and at the same price everywhere since it's a downloadable content" ?
    • I suspect it means free from geographic or other artificial restrictions, unlike the currently available QuickFlix download service, which is a bit of a joke.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      My take on this is that 'Freely' does not mean 'Free' but abailable without the silly restrictions that Hollywood puts on shows.
      This could be related to DRM but equally well to the artificial delays that they impose on stuff being broadcast around the world.
      That delay does nothing IMHO but increase the risk that the show/film will be pirated for the markets where it isn't being shown yet.
      IMHO, it should also mean not stopping people from outside the USofA from legitimaly purchasing the show/movie from US Si

    • Free as in no restriction systems, no country codes, no gouging, no differences in release dates between regions, etc.
  • ...and at the same time as the rest of the world. Social media is big enough that a delay is really noticeable.

    Note: Please don't talk about the Hobbit film. It releases for us on the 26th December 2012. (thankfully not in December 2013)
  • It isn't the ISP's job to do deep packet inspection on their customers, nor is it their job to restrict or remove their customers access to their pipe. I would say in the case of public safety it might be reasonable, but not because a third party doesn't like what the customer is downloading? Be real.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I would say in the case of public safety it might be reasonable

      What, you mean like the TSA? Freedom > safety, in my books.

  • Here in the US, network providers have an enormous negotiating advantage when dealing with media companies. The one or two wires leading to your house are owned by the ISPs.

    If media companies continue to turn the screws on ISPs, the ISPs can simply refuse to carry their content.

    Think of the potential fall-out. Disney decides that Verizon isn't playing ball with regards to copyright enforcement. Disney makes unreasonable demands of Verizon and how they treat their customers. Verizon can simply stop distr

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Disney owns ABC. ABC runs broadcast network station where network operators provides service. The government forces network operators to carry these broadcast stations. Disney says you can carry our ABC station only if you carry the Disney Channel, ESPN and other properties and force everyone to pay for them, and fuck you. No point in making a stand, so the network operator just passes on that fuck you.

  • Thanks Iinet. It's good to see a small wa company do well and continue to have morals. Was a custome for years, currently with internode who are now Iinet owned anway. I remember one of the early Iinet user group meetings at a local Perth pizza joint. Come a long way.

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