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Government Australia Piracy Your Rights Online

Australian Govt Holding Secretive Anti-Piracy Talks 218

daria42 writes "Looks like Australia's Government prefers to keep its ongoing anti-piracy discussions behind closed doors. It held an initial meeting in September last year to try to get the content and ISP industries to thrash out an agreement on how to handle Internet piracy. Consumer representative groups were explicitly blocked from attending the meeting, and attendees are not allowed to reveal what was discussed behind closed doors. Now a second meeting has been held, and again, no information has been revealed about what's being discussed. Quelle conspiracy?"
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Australian Govt Holding Secretive Anti-Piracy Talks

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  • First (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FatLittleMonkey ( 1341387 ) on Monday February 13, 2012 @01:55AM (#39016477)

    the excuse was child pornography. Now it's piracy. The effect is to gain control over speech.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 13, 2012 @02:05AM (#39016517)

    Get them there sooner. Stop buying their shit. Don't download it, don't stream it, don't swap it, don't buy it. btw - downloading isn't pirating... semantics? not really.

    Tell them that until they stop treating 99.9999% of their customers like they were criminals, that we will not buy their shit, period.

    I stopped going to movies, stopped buying/renting movies, stopping buying music altogether. I disconnected the cable/satellite service. And now my leisure time is spent in books and online.

  • by abelb ( 1365345 ) on Monday February 13, 2012 @02:05AM (#39016519)
    Until content producers provide a quick, easy and legal means to download content as soon as soon as it becomes available consumers will keep getting their media from "alternative" sources.
  • Re:First (Score:5, Insightful)

    by exomondo ( 1725132 ) on Monday February 13, 2012 @02:07AM (#39016523)
    next it will be dissent.
  • by mug funky ( 910186 ) on Monday February 13, 2012 @02:19AM (#39016591)

    look up the port arthur massacre.

    none of us have guns anymore because of that.

    we'd vote for the other guy, but he's worse. go figure. it's like a scaled back version of the USA, but with a functional health/education/welfare system. one wonders what the US govt actually spends its money on if it can't even get those right.

  • by abelb ( 1365345 ) on Monday February 13, 2012 @02:26AM (#39016633)
    Yes you're right. To be more precise: Vendor neutral, DRM free method of legally downloading media. Streaming also, is not good enough. The crux of my argument is that pirates offer this already, yet content providers seem to be opposed to the idea of giving consumers high quality DRM free downloads, which is exactly what people want. When I buy a DVD I'm confident it will work on any player for many years. Why not give consumers the same level of assurance with Internet delivered content?
  • by Sparx139 ( 1460489 ) on Monday February 13, 2012 @02:27AM (#39016637)
    In place of leaders, we have the children that are more interested in calling each other names than actually sitting down and working through issues. As both sides just stand there screaming about how the other is going to ruin the economy, any discussion on "minor" issues such as civil liberties gets drowned out. (By minor, I mean that the vast majority of Australians seem to follow whatever Parliament is screaming about, be it gambling reforms, the carbon tax, etc and remains ignorant/indifferent towards everything else). Unfortunately, the laid-back attitude that typifies our culture also extends to our view on politics... Many Australians at the last election chose to donkey vote rather than choose between either of the major parties, instead of looking at the variety of independents that were on offer and picking one of them.
  • by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Monday February 13, 2012 @02:35AM (#39016671) Journal

    ... until they get what they want.

    Just like the EU referendum in Ireland. The government made it clear that they would keep holding referenda until they got the "correct" result. Spending taxpayers' money to fight the will of the people, that's the way governments work. Was it different in the past?

  • Re:First (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slackware 3.6 ( 2524328 ) on Monday February 13, 2012 @02:37AM (#39016685)
    Government do not need or try to hide honorable intentions.
  • by FatLittleMonkey ( 1341387 ) on Monday February 13, 2012 @02:45AM (#39016721)

    Stop buying their shit. Don't download it, don't stream it, don't swap it, don't buy it. I stopped going to movies, stopped buying/renting movies, stopping buying music altogether. I disconnected the cable/satellite service.

    These are seen only as a reduction in sales. No reason is attached to a non-sale. They will blame the loss of sales on piracy. By not buying, you are merely reinforcing their assumption that you are pirating their product, whether you are or aren't. You can't win their game, you can't quit their game. The only way is to change the game. And IMO, encouraging piracy is actually the best strategy, even if you, yourself, have no real desire to. Help make it mainstream, help make it easy to do, encourage another generation of kids (and their grandparents) who just see downloading as "using the internet".

    btw - downloading isn't pirating...

    No, uploading is piracy. ^_^`

  • by Cryacin ( 657549 ) on Monday February 13, 2012 @02:54AM (#39016777)
    Used to be that way until Mr. Howard sneakily disarmed Australians. Remember Martin Bryant? Shot up a stack of people in Port Arthur with a semi-automatic rifle? They were meant to be banned, but the rest of the gun laws went with it. It was the turning point of Australia.
  • Re:First (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cryacin ( 657549 ) on Monday February 13, 2012 @02:55AM (#39016781)
    You have the freedom to do whatever you want. Just as long as it's what we want you to do.
  • by Cimexus ( 1355033 ) on Monday February 13, 2012 @03:13AM (#39016837)

    Well, to be fair, the stuff you read about Australia on here is often exaggerated, missing crucial pieces of information that add context or background, or are just plain wrong. Not to say they are completely made up - no, they do relate to things that are actually happening. But they are reported on in a particular way that makes things sound worse than they are (usually).

    To take one of your examples: speed cameras. What makes Australia unique in this regard? Virtually every developed country has speed cameras. I've travelled extensively and I don't think there are any more or less on average than other places. Certainly less than in the UK and much of Europe. Probably more fixed speed cameras than in the US (though, on the flip side, you do see a lot more cops parked in the median trying to catch speeders 'manually' in the US than in Australia). You'd have to be kinda dumb to get caught by a fixed speed camera in Australia anyway as in most states they are marked with multiple giant signs saying "speed camera ahead!" (Victoria is a notable exception to this). Irritating if you get caught? Yes ... but hardly something that warrants discussion of shooting people...

    Same with this article. They can discuss things behind closed doors all they want, but eventually if they want to actually DO something it will have to come out in the open and be passed through Parliament like any other law. Until that happens (or looks likely to happen), no point in overreacting. Think back to the internet filter stuff a year or two ago - it never actually happened because there was widespread opposition to it. But Slashdot didn't really mention that. It phrased articles about the filter proposal to make it sound like it was a done deal, when really, it never had any serious chance of getting through Parliament in its current state. But the damage to our 'reputation' is already done. I commonly see people on here still making the assumption that Australia has a net filter (when it doesn't and isn't likely to for the foreseeable future since the first one was never even introduced into Parliament, let alone passed).

    I suppose what I'm saying is that Australians aren't really any different than Americans in this regard. Only some are politically interested in the first place. A smaller proportion of those still care about IT/media/communications issues enough to raise a fuss. And when things start to look bad enough, people do react - the defeat of the net filter is evidence of that. So at this point some closed-door discussions are taking place about piracy, sure, but until something concrete is revealed, there's no point in overreacting. As someone that works with Australian Government departments every day of the week as a contractor, I can tell you that 90% of discussion, proposals, ideas etc. never get off the ground.

    The other factor is that life here is very good. We're a forgotten little corner of the world in some ways, so the world doesn't think about us much. But the economy is booming, the financial crisis that crippled so many others barely touched us (we were the only OECD nation that didn't go into recession), we have very low sovereign debt, a pretty good universal health care system, very low violent crime, unemployment is low, we have generous working conditions, guaranteed 4 weeks vacation + 10 public holidays, a $16 USD/hr minimum wage etc. and a culture that values work-life balance. People simply don't have much to complain about. Things like speed cameras and anti-piracy discussions simply don't rank that high on the care factor for most people. (And frankly, big media's product these days mostly sucks - they will kill themselves with their antiquated business practices before they die due to piracy anyway)

    So do pay us a visit, you might be surprised to find that things aren't as bad as what you think (remember: things on Slashdot and the wider internet generally are designed to attract eyeballs and hits, so are phrased in the most provocative way)

  • Re:First (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EdIII ( 1114411 ) on Monday February 13, 2012 @03:39AM (#39016923)

    I suspect the move by artists to sell direct is gaining traction

    Not just traction, but viability. There have been numerous "experiments" and so far the vast majority of them have realized substantial profits. At least when start to consider profits not meaning 1 billion returned for 10 million invested.

    Humble Bundle is a good example for software. The average price per person is low, but only compared to the ridiculous $50-$60 that some big outfits demand. Humble Bundle developers got a decent return on their investment and having experienced their labors I can say the quality was not lacking. Sure, it is not Call of Duty, but the titles were inventive, very artistic, and enjoyable.

    Louis CK released his last comedy special all by himself, and according to his website had made 50% ROI and still climbing. That was at a $5 price point with no DRM at all. Funny guy, I would have paid $10-$20 if I had the ability to choose.

    Netflix just released their first in-house movie. I will be watching it tomorrow night. There have always been the rumors that YouTube is going to start doing the same thing. Independent movies are featured quite often on Netflix, and I suspect that is due to Big Content not being in the way with ridiculous expectations of profits. $6.99 for a 2nd viewing of a recent movie is ridiculous. Those business models are doomed.

    Big Content is damned right to be scared. The person screwing the artists has always been Big Content to a much greater degree, and quite provably too. While you cannot equate every act of piracy with a sale, Big Content has been screwing artists with Hollywood Accounting and just plain stiffing them years on actual revenue they realized, but never quite got around to actually splitting it up with the artists.

    It's kind of like saying that there *could* be a pie out there to be split with the artist and draconian laws are needed to protect that, while the entire time *actual* pies exist that are not being split with the artists anyways. Which is worse?

    When people figure out that new business models can work, that Big Content is not actually required anymore, and that all of those laws will do more harm than good..... game over.

    Any wonder these negotiations have to be held in secret?

  • So DO SOMETHING (Score:4, Insightful)

    by caitsith01 ( 606117 ) on Monday February 13, 2012 @03:52AM (#39016973) Journal

    The current government is suffering from deep popularity problems and will be very nervous about further antagonising an already angry and disillusioned public. They will be aware of what happened with SOPA and what is happening with ACTA right now in Europe.

    So make some noise, damn you. Stop telling us these people don't represent you, and start telling your government.

    Write letters, emails, tweets, Facebook updates:

    - tell everyone you know about this - if they are even slightly interested (or skeptical of your claims) be prepared to explain the situation and issues to them politely and without frothing at the mouth

    - write to newspapers, comments on on-line news articles, generally increase the amount of negative feedback in places where strangers will see this

    - for god's sake, write to your local MP and state senators. You may think it doesn't change anything, but if they get enough letters they get nervous, and when they get nervous they apply pressure on those in control of their party's agenda. I suggest telling them: that you voted for them last time and might vote for them but won't if they keep this up; that you are prepared to protest about this and will do everything you can to spread the word about it; that you will be agitating for a change of policy in every forum you can think of.

    - write/email/tweet to the Liberal Party telling them this issue is important and you feel betrayed by the Labor government, and ask them what their policy is and what they are going to do about this

    - write to the minor parties and tell them you are concerned and want them to raise this issue in parliament

    - see if there is an organised campaign via GetUp, EFA etc and get involved - give them money, at minimum, actively help if you can in other ways

    Our system isn't properly representative, but our politicians are driven by self-interest. You will notice that the net filter went on the back burner and never came back - the same can be achieved with this issue.

    What doesn't achieve anything is complaining about it to a bunch of people who agree with you!

  • Re:First (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rust627 ( 1072296 ) on Monday February 13, 2012 @04:01AM (#39017005)

    because nobody's crazy enough to vote for Abbott

    Unfortunately, the polls don't show that at all. Despite the fact that a huge overwhelming majority of Australians don't like him, they are still indicating that they will vote for him.

    No, This is Australia

    I think the last Politician to win an election was Whitlam

    Now it is more a case of not so much voting for the party you want, but more voting against the one you want least .....
    that is to say. (despite what they will tell us), elections aren't really won, but Lost.

    Don't vote, it only encourages them.

  • Re:First (Score:4, Insightful)

    by imroy ( 755 ) <> on Monday February 13, 2012 @04:01AM (#39017007) Homepage Journal
    He has a long history of saying stupid things and then mostly failing to wiggle his way out of the ensuing controversy. The guy's just a twit, basically. You can tell he's not very bright.
  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Monday February 13, 2012 @04:08AM (#39017039) Journal

    In Holland we had the referendum, the voters (across all parties) rejected it and it got passed regardless. The D66 which claims to want more referundum couldn't ditch the results of the first referendum ever in Hollland fast enough. Democracy sucks for politicians because those silly voters just don't know how to vote correctly.

    It must be a highly annoying job. You as a politician clearly know what is right but can the plebs see it? No!

    It isn't just copyright, see the whole EU debate, the Greek debt crisis, immigration. Democracy by a lot of politicians is seen as some holy grail that will make everything alright. Pity it allows grubby mean spirited selfish people to vote who are tired of paying through the nose for content, tired of constantly paying for more EU nations who are corrupt as hell and whose only contribution is a new load of ciminals, tired of paying for Greece a country that hasn't contributed a single penny to the EU in its entire history, tired of boat loads of immigrants who don't want to live among their own culture anymore for whatever reason and then try to establish the same culture in their new country.

    Not nice? Not PC? Well, that is how the common voter thinks, don't like any of those things? Then you don't like democracy. Democracy ain't good, democracy is the dictatorship of the common man and the common man ain't all that nice.

    Either you have full democractic rule and risk the majority voting to re-open the gas chambers OR you have ACTA and the EU constitution. Choose wisely... oops there is that democracy thing again, better hope everyone chooses wisely, or at least a majority. And sucks to be you if the majority thinks different.

  • Re:First (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rohan972 ( 880586 ) on Monday February 13, 2012 @04:27AM (#39017081)
    Possible reasons:
    1) Not boring enough. We generally like our politicians boring.
    2) Too catholic. Catholicism is weird. Any religion followed diligently enough is a bit weird, but catholic priests have the whole pedophile thing going on, and if not that, vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, of which all are weird. None of those are exactly Australian values.
    3) Wears budgie smugglers.
    4) Too catholic. This bears repeating because Conroy is catholic and wants to censor the internet. Abbot probably will want to do the same.

    As for Howard, he campaigned as a small government conservative for 30 years yet government became no smaller during his time as PM, exactly the opposite. Howard did not favour individual liberty, he was a statist through and through. May as well have had a socialist for the liberties we gave up during his stint as PM.
  • Re:First (Score:4, Insightful)

    by skegg ( 666571 ) on Monday February 13, 2012 @04:28AM (#39017087)

    I agree that a large number of us vote against a candidate/party rather than for a candidate/party.

    But I completely disagree with your last statement. (Against voting.)

    There is no fate but what we make!

  • Re:First (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rohan972 ( 880586 ) on Monday February 13, 2012 @04:38AM (#39017117)

    Or perhaps... it's to work out how to handle Internet piracy.
    Without additional information, there's no reason to think of it any different.

    Nonsense. The federal government is supposed to represent the people, not special interest groups. The fact that they are working to prevent the people gaining any additional information is the only additional information we have at this stage.

    So, do you think they are excluding the public from taking part in this discussion because (1) they have something really nice planned for us and want it to be a surprise, (2) they want to pass something they know is unlikely to survive public scrutiny as it is not in our interests or (3) some other reason, which you should specify if you choose this option?

    I think reason (2) is the most likely.

  • root cause (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tom ( 822 ) on Monday February 13, 2012 @04:57AM (#39017169) Homepage Journal

    And then they're surprised that we distrust them. Seriously?

    The common theme I see behind all the recent political issues is transparency - and not of the "we need more surveilance" kind, but of the "you are supposed to be our representatives, not our masters, so start treating us as the real boss" kind.

    I personally think that we need something like an amendment to the western constitutions that makes it clear that the phrase "we, the people" or "the people are the souvereign", etc. that appear in one form or another in all of them includes the fact that the souvereign has the right to know what his representatives are up to at any time.

    As with all things, exceptions are invitations for abuse. There are a few cases (immediate danger) where a delay seems useful. Terorrist attack? Well, think again. If it were all over the evening news that terrorists plan to hijack four airplanes tomorrow and fly them into buildings - what do you think their chances of success have just become?

    There are very few cases where secrecy is actually warranted in politics, and we need a strict full-disclosure afterwards policy for those. And by "afterwards", I don't mean 20 years, I mean "before the next election".

    It's time these jokers are told again that they govern us, not rule us. Because in a democracy (or republic, for the nitpickers), the people rule.

  • by St.Creed ( 853824 ) on Monday February 13, 2012 @05:08AM (#39017199)

    Why? I can watch that movie if I want. I just can't give the provider any money for it. Big deal.

  • Re:First (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rohan972 ( 880586 ) on Monday February 13, 2012 @05:23AM (#39017259)
    The way you explain that is still reason (2).
  • by Cryacin ( 657549 ) on Monday February 13, 2012 @07:07AM (#39017519)
    So Mr. Crutchy, are you saying that "Australians are idiots that sit there and drool"?

    It's very nice to be hysterical, but let me point out to you that countries like Switzerland don't have such issues. Not only do they have guns, but military grade guns, since most join the militia. Not many people get killed with those guns over there. When every civilian is armed to the teeth, thugs think twice before they break in.

    And just to point out to you, I am a university educated Australian, who has travelled most parts of the world. I can assure you that I am quite learned, both in academia, and in the use of firearms.

    More to the point, your anti-Americanistic racism is pointing to the "right for Americans to bear arms." It is my very point that it used to be the "right for Australians to bear arms", that is, until the "think of the children" crowd was used as an excuse to disarm the populace.

    Should we maybe move to a more British model, like in the London riots, which I might point out, I had the unfortunate pleasure of living there when it happened. People still get knifed quite regularly, and yet England is completely disarmed, both in weapons and in spirit. In fact, during the riots, our local neighbourhood antique dealers got knifed because he wouldn't hand over his phone to a pack of thugs. He was airlifted and barely survived, and these blokes are now on the street again. So since idiots with guns don't kill people, idiots with knives kill people. Before you laugh at a cliche, actually think about it for 30 seconds.

    Let me give you one last piece of of wisdom, my strawman flinging friend. The true strength in a firearm, is not firing the weapon. It is the threat of discharging the weapon in a particular and controlled manner, in an appropriate situation that begets it's true power. If you have a truly educated populace, both in mind, and in firearm, it prevents any threat to the country and its culture as a whole from being enveloped, both from a threat from the outside, or a threat from within.

    But you know, keep on drinking the kool aid pal. They need more of you to roll over.

"I'm not afraid of dying, I just don't want to be there when it happens." -- Woody Allen