Australia’s federal government is examining how to overcome the High Court decision which found internet service providers (ISPs) aren’t liable when their customers download pirated movies.
One possible measure would require ISPs to issue graduated warnings to consumers using websites to facilitate piracy.
Attorney-General George Brandis said illegal downloading of films or any other protected content was a form of theft and he was keen to implement new measures to cut the rate of online piracy.
Senator Brandis said it was once thought the Copyright Act was sufficient when it stipulated that an entity such as an ISP which authorised infringement of copyright was liable.
But in 2012 the High Court ruled that ISP iiNet wasn’t liable for piracy committed by their customers.
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In the case, a group of 34 international and Australian companies, including Warner Bros, Disney and the Seven Network, alleged iiNet authorised infringement of their copyright when its customers downloaded movies and television programs.
“The government will be considering possible mechanisms to provide a legal incentive for an internet service provider to co-operate with copyright owners in preventing infringement on their systems and networks,” Senator Brandis told the Australian Digital Alliance forum on copyright reform.
Senator Brandis said this was complex reform and the government didn’t want to burden ISPs beyond what was reasonably necessary to comply with domestic and international obligations.
His preference would be to facilitate industry self-regulation, as opposed to active and continuing government regulation, he said. – AAP