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ABC logoAs expected, last night the Australian parliament passed new laws enabling copyright-holders to take out Federal Court injunctions requiring internet service providers to block access to overseas websites that host infringing material.

Actually, as Andrew Colley wrote at CSO Online Australia, copyright-holders have to prove that the site’s “primary purpose” is to “facilitate” copyright infringement. His story outlines The Greens’ argument that the bar should be higher, requiring “flagrant” conduct.

Over at ZDNet, Josh Taylor wrote an excellent backgrounder, Village Roadshow’s long fury road to blocking piracy sites. Not a “furry road”, please note. That would be something slightly different.

This afternoon I spoke about some of these issues with afternoon presenter Lorna Perry at ABC 105.7 Darwin, and here’s that 11-minute convesation.

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The audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

ABC logo“Days numbered for illegal downloaders as crackdown is given tick of approval,” read the headline at News.com.au on Friday. Do you think they might be connected with any film and TV businesses?

“Labor falls in to support piracy site-blocking Bill,” read the more neutral headline at ZDNet.

Yes, the Australian Parliament is almost certain to pass laws enabling copyright-holders to take out Federal Court injunctions requiring internet service providers to block their customers from accessing overseas websites that they can prove are infringing.

I spoke about this and other media-related matters on ABC Riverina and other ABC local stations around NSW with Simon Wallace — and here’s the recording. There’s a glitch, in that my phone wasn’t patched through correctly, but that’s fixed about a minute or so in.

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The audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

[Note: Although this is being posted on 15 June, I’ve timestamped the post 12 June, so that appears in the correct sequence on the website.]

The storm approaches: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 20 to Sunday 26 April 2015 was rather dismal, and not just because of the severe storms that hit New South Wales.

The storms were big. A month’s worth of rain fell on the first day, and then there was more rain. Ausgrid had to deal with more than 6000 power line failures, most of them because of trees. The State Emergency Service had more than 11,000 jobs to deal with, and again most of them were because of trees. People were killed. Houses were washed away.

Fortunately, I was at the periphery of all that. It was more the weather’s side effect, the fact that I was trapped indoors for the latter part of the week, which led to further introspection along the lines that I explained last week.

That new dawn was occluded by a stormy week, which culminated in the Anzac Day weekend and the personal reflections that brings. It’s all a lot to deal with, really.

Podcasts

Articles

5at5

There were only two editions of 5at5 this week, on Monday and Tuesday. To save me having to tell you this, you could just subscribe.

Media Appearances

None. A planned spot on Tuesday to talk about tech news on ABC 702 Sydney was cancelled because they needed to focus on their storm coverage.

Corporate Largesse

None.

The Week Ahead

Well it’s almost over now. Today, or was we call it, Thursday, I’ll be writing for ZDNet Australia, doing some blog posts including this one, running errands, and returning to Wentworth Falls after a couple days in Sydney. On Friday, I’ll be focusing on my legacy IT business, Prussia.Net, which now bears little relationship to how the website describes it, and which much change. The weekend will include whatever things I feel like at the time, because it’s the weekend.

[Photo: The storm approaches. The first of several days of heavy rainstorms hit New South Wales on Monday 20 April 2015. This shot was taken from a taxi driving down the Great Western Highway, somewhere between Leura and Wentworth Falls.]

En route to Sydney: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 6 to Sunday 12 April 2015 was a little busier than it should have been, given that the Easter long weekend was in there. Mind you, I did plenty of work-related things in there.

I won’t list them all, because some of them were background things that you’re not allowed to know about yet. And some of them were thoughtful, long-term things that will be discussed soon enough. So it’s just the list for now.

Podcasts

  • “The 9pm Government by Fools”, being The 9pm Edict episode 39. It contains a brief rant about pies, amongst other things.

Articles

5at5

Three editions of 5at5 this week, on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. To save me having to tell you this, you could just subscribe.

Media Appearances

None.

Corporate Largesse

The Week Ahead

I’m in Sydney all this week, and have a bunch of things to do, but in no particular order. I’ve got to plan the next month, produce an episode of The 9pm Edict podcast by Tuesday night, plan out a subscription drive for that podcast, review six TV scripts, write a column for ZDNet Australia, produce and post the recording of last week’s UTS lecture, coordinate some medical treatment, and finally assemble that ebook that’s been lurking in the back of the to-do list for far, far too long.

[Photo: En route to Sydney, being the view from a Blue Mountains line train as it travelled down to Sydney in the early morning light on Thursday 9 April 2015. It was a very different mood from last week’s view.]

ABC logoThe government’s discussion paper on online copyright infringement came out just over a month ago, the submissions period closed on Monday, and now the debate is really kicking off — including on the complicated legal issue of geoblocking.

Now I’ve already given my opinion on the political spin in the discussion paper itself. But the specific issue of geoblocking came up on ABC Gold Coast, and this morning I spoke with breakfast presenter Bern Young.

Legally it’s a grey area. By signing up for a Netflix account from Australia, for example, you may be breaking the terms and conditions of their service. But you’re still paying for the content, and money is passed on the the actual producers.

The only people missing out are the local Australian distributors who’ve inserted themselves between the content producers and the audience. What value are they adding, exactly? The whole point of the internet is to enable people to connect globally.

CHOICE sees it as a consumer issue. Doesn’t geoblocking, the restriction of content availability by location, restrict competition? They’ve just launched a TV campaign making that point. Even the government’s own inquiry into IT pricing recommended that geoblocking be outlawed.

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The audio is ©2014 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The Internet of Trees: click to embiggenThis episode of The 9pm Edict heads into a eucalypt forest in search of the internet, and encounters a dog.

You’ll hear about the National Broadband Network’s fibre-to-the-node trial, Russell Brand, Bertrand Russell, the 20th anniversary of a sarin nerve gas attack in Japan, the 25th birthday of the internet in Australia, the 60th birthday of nuclear power stations, Hillary Clinton and the mangoes, Google co-funder Larry Page’s threat to kill 100,000 people, and the arsehattery of Village Roadshow co-CEO Graham Burke.

And there’s the dog, of course.

And a cat. Sort of.

But don’t forget the dog.

You can listen to the podcast below. But if you want all of the episodes, now and in the future, subscribe to the podcast feed, or subscribe automatically in iTunes, or go to SoundCloud.

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If you’d like to comment on this episode, please add your comment below, or Skype to stilgherrian or phone Sydney +61 2 8011 3733. Not that anyone ever does.

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ABC logoAnother series of Game of Thrones is released, which means another series of radio spots talking about Australia’s reputation for (allegedly) massive levels of illegal downloads.

This spot is from Tuesday 8 April, a chat with ABC 720 Perth afternoon presenter Gillian O’Shaughnessy, triggered by the news that the first episode of Game of Thrones series four had seen record levels of illegal downloads, with Perth topping the list — although Angus Kidman at Lifehacker disagrees.

One highlight of this conversation is when I suggest that the entire Australian content distribution industry should just get out of the way, retire and go play on their yachts.

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The audio is of course ©2014 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

ABC logoThe third radio spot I did about Attorney-General George Brandis’ comments on digital copyright was with ABC 105.7 Darwin on Wednesday 19 February. Here it is.

(“Third” you ask? There’s only been one other posted so far. That’s true. The second spot was with Dom Knight on ABC 702 Sydney on Tuesday 18 February. But I don’t have a recording for you. Sorry.)

This is roughly the same discussion I had on Spoke on Tuesday, but with presenter Kate O’Toole and after I’d drank a bottle of Sangiovese Barbera after I got angrier about the issues. So the concept of graduated response is a thing again, I allude to the iiTrial and so on. And yes I mentioned Rebecca Giblin’s research.

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The audio is of course ©2014 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

3555 logoMy recent critique of Attorney-General George Brandis’ comments about copyright reform in the digital age attracted plenty of positive comments — and also some media attention.

That critique was my ZDNet Australia column on the day of Brandis’ speech, Friday 14 February, What the Dickens will Brandis do to copyright in the digital realm?

The first piece of media interest was from Michelle Bennett, presenter of Spoke, the weekly social issues program on Melbourne community radio station 3RRR. The interview was recorded on Sunday 16 February and broadcast in the Spoke episode of Tuesday 18 February.

The conversation wasn’t just about Brandis’ comments, but also some of the background — including the so-called iiTrial between the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) and internet service provider iiNet, the graduated response or “three strikes” rules for tackling copyright infringement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) treaty, and the idea that internet access can be considered a basic human right.

I also mentioned Dr Rebecca Giblin’s research paper, Evaluating Graduated Response, which looked at those three strikes rules. The conclusion was that “there is little to no evidence that that graduated responses are either ‘successful’ or ‘effective’.”

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The interview is ©2014 Triple R Broadcasters Ltd. Over at their website you can listen to the full program.

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