For months, the government has flagged its intention to crack down on online piracy at the behest of the copyright industry — insisting that Australians are among the world’s worst file sharers and that internet service providers should play a greater role in protecting the interests of the world’s biggest media companies.
The government’s draft paper on online copyright infringement, obtained by Crikey, doesn’t go as far as sought by the copyright industry, but it still represents a clear threat to the digital rights of Australians.
In the draft, which we have published in full today, measures designed to implement the will of the global copyright industry are justified by resort to free trade agreements and the industry’s own padded statistics.
There is no clear proposal for a “graduated response” scheme, under which internet users identified as downloading content illegally would be warned or banned by their ISPs. However, in a proposal for courts to be able to order websites to be blocked by Australian ISPs, the dead hand of internet censorship is evident.
As always, the simplest solution to piracy — the copyright industry providing content to its customers when and how they want, and at a fair price — is ignored in favour of turning internet service providers into reluctant copyright police.