National Online Piracy Crackdown Expected Soon

Industry lobbying against online piracy has been intensifying, amid growing expectations the Abbott government will move to clamp down on internet service providers and considers implementing strict new anti-piracy measures “as early as this week”.

Fairfax Media is reporting, that shortly the federal cabinet will consider two proposals to crack down on illegal downloads. One is internet service providers being required to issue warnings to people who repeatedly download illegally. The other is forcing ISPs to block file-sharing websites such as BitTorrent sites The Pirate Bay and Kick Ass Torrents.

The first is also known as the controversial “three-strikes” provision, where copyright infringers are given three warnings before potential litigation, charges and removal from an service provider.

Per capita, Australians are among the biggest culprits of online piracy in the world. This has been attributed to a combination of reactions to delays for overseas content and a push back against the country’s higher prices.

According to Fairfax, we may see one of these plans put into motion this week. Attorney General George Brandis is leading the charge against online piracy, having announced the government’s intentions to crack down on the practice earlier this year.

“The government will be considering possible mechanisms to provide a legal incentive for an internet service provider to cooperate with copyright owners in preventing infringement on their systems and networks,” Mr Brandis said at the time.

ISP iiNet’S chief regulatory officer Steve Dalby told Fairfax that ISPs should not be held responsible for ”protecting the rights of American companies” and the proposed changes won’t make any difference in the prevalence of online piracy.

“There doesn’t seem to be any empirical evidence that either blocking websites or sending harsh notices to customers…does anything to reduce the incidence of piracy. Show me the evidence,” Mr Dalby said.

According to Gizmodo, film studio Village Roadshow is one of the corporations lobbying Brandis in favour of strict anti-piracy measures, having invited the Attorney-General to private film screenings in Canberra.

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