Talking copyright vs the internet on ABC Local Radio

Last night I took part in a nice long chat about copyright and the internet on ABC Local Radio across Australia — the program being Tony Delroy’s Nightlife.

Also on the program was Fiona Phillips, acting CEO of the Australian Copyright Council, so we had me as the technologist and her as the lawyer.

I think Mr Delroy was surprised to find that we were in broad agreement on most issues. We covered quite a bit of territory, including SOPA, Optus versus sport, new business models and the inevitable mention of Nine Inch Nails.

Here’s the recording of the whole thing, including the talkback calls.

Play

I’d also like to thank everyone on Twitter who suggested other creatives who were successfully bypassing the middlemen and publishing straight to their audiences: musicians Radiohead, Amanda Hocking, Amanda Palmer, Jonathan Coulton and OK Go; writers Stephen King and Cory Doctorow; comedian Louis CK; and even the movie Red State by Kevin Smith. Have I missed any?

The audio is ©2012 Australian Broadcasting Corporation. The program is also available as an MP3 from the ABC website.

Weekly Wrap 38

A weekly summary of what I’ve been doing elsewhere on the internets. This is being posted rather late, Wednesday rather than Sunday or so, because I was flat out at the Kickstart Forum. Must. Do. Better.

Podcasts

Articles

  • AFACT versus iiNet appeal decision resolves nothing, for Crikey. In summary, while the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft’s appeal against the Federal Court’s decision in favour of iiNet was lost, this’ll probably all end up being appealed again to the High Court.

Corporate Largesse

  • On Wednesday I attended the NICTA Techfest and was provided with free food and drink.
  • Starting on Sunday I was attending the Kickstart Forum on the Gold Coast. My airfares and accommodation were paid for by the organisers, Media Connect. On Sunday evening security firm AVG bought me a drink. Sunday night’s dinner was sponsored by MyNetPhone.

Elsewhere

Most of my day-to-day observations are on my high-volume Twitter stream, and random photos and other observations turn up on my Posterous stream. The photos also appear on Flickr, where I eventually add geolocation data and tags.

Weekly Wrap 9

A weekly summary of what I’ve been doing elsewhere on the internets — and this week there’s been a lot of it!

Articles

  • Gay marriage an irrelevant sideshow, for ABC Unleashed. I reckon the way “the gay and lesbian community” abused Senator Penny Wong for simply re-stating Labor policy was disgusting. Did they really expect her to break ranks and criticise her party’s policy just because some random punter asked her a question on Q&A?
  • AFACT didn’t explain notices to iiNet for ZDNet.com.au. On Wednesday I covered day three of the Federal Court appeal by the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft in their case against Australia’s third-largest ISP. This is straight reportage of the morning’s proceedings.
  • Will AFACT’s appeal solve anything? for ZDNet.com.au. On Thursday, I wrote this op-ed piece, picking up on one of the appeal judge’s comments about this appeal not necessarily solving anything long-term.

Podcasts

  • Patch Monday episode 51, “Data breaches: it’s criminals again” with guest Brad Arkin, who Mark Goudie, who heads up the forensics practice for Verizon Business Asia-Pacific in Melbourne. We discuss Verizon’s 2010 Data Breach Investigations Report [PDF].
  • A Series of Tubes episode 114. Host Richard Chirgwin talks with APNIC Chief Scientist Geoff Houston about the impending exhaustion of IPv4 internet addresses, and me about the AFACT v iiNet appeal, the demise of Google Wave, and a few political things.

Media Appearances

[Photo: The view from Courtroom 1, Federal Court of Australia, Sydney, photographed on 4 August 2010. The brown smudges are not on your screen: the windows need cleaning from the outside.]

Mark Thomas on UK Digital Economy Bill

The movie and music industries have been lobbying governments globally to introduce so-called “three strikes” laws. Three accusations of online copyright infringement — “accusations”, mind you, not proof — and you lose your internet connection.

Copyright-holders reckon this will help prevent copyright infringement. But the concerns are that we’re entering the realm of guilt by allegation, and potentially punishing innocent people by denying internet access to everyone in a household, not just the guilty party.

The internet is now central to everything from health and education to banking and politics, so that’s one heck of a big stick.

As this 10-minute video by comedian and activist Mark Thomas explains, the UK version of this proposed law, the Digital Economy Bill, has a nasty surprise. Section 17 would give the Secretary of State the power to amend the copyright laws without having to run them past Parliament first.

Um hello? “Parliamentary democracy”, anyone?

If the embedded player doesn’t work, you can watch the video on YouTube.

At this stage, the Australian Government is not yet considering laws like this. But that could change.

Earlier this month iiNet, our third-largest ISP, won a case in the Federal Court where Justice Dennis Cowdroy ruled that ISPs are not responsible for the copyright-infringing acts of their customers. I covered that for Crikey and in the Patch Monday podcast.

Since then, communications minister Senator Stephen Conroy has said he wants the copyright-holders and the ISPs to work out a code of practice on their own. However I reckon that’s just a delaying tactic to avoid discussing such a controversial issue in an election year.

The movie and music industries are fighting hard on this one. France and Japan already have three-strikes laws, to name just two. And the industries are devoting plenty of resources.

Mark Thomas points out they were late in using the internet to make money from their assets, and now they’re looking for someone to blame. Yes, the big players may well be making less profit that before. However the bulk of their profit was from distribution. Now the costs of distribution are almost nil — yet somehow they’ve managed to end up making less money. Fools.

They also reckon that if no-one can make money from their creative acts, it’ll be the death of creativity. But in the video, prehistoric musician Billy Bragg points out that while a few artists at the top end may be suffering, the internet has proved a boon for lower-ranked artists, allowing them to reach new markets at much lower cost.

This is a big issue. It’s a complicated issue. It won’t go away. We should all stay informed.

Patch Monday: iiNet: The whys and what nows

ZDNet Australia logo: click for Patch Monday episode 29

The iiNet decision was clearly the biggest IT news story last week, so this week’s Patch Monday podcast includes a comprehensive explanation.

My special guest is Peter Black, who teaches internet law at the Queensland University of Technology. But before you get to listen to him, you can endure my summary of Justice Dennis Cowdroy’s full decision.

You can listen below. But it’s probably better for my stats if you listen at ZDNet Australia or subscribe to the RSS feed or subscribe in iTunes.

Please, let me know what you think. We now accept audio comments too. Either Skype to “stilgherrian” or phone Sydney 02 8011 3733.