As 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.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 11:00 — 6.8MB)
The audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
“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.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 10:01 — 6.0MB)
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.]
My 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.
- “The 9pm Government by Fools”, being The 9pm Edict episode 39. It contains a brief rant about pies, amongst other things.
Three editions of 5at5 this week, on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. To save me having to tell you this, you could just subscribe.
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.]
The 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.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 5:14 — 3.6MB)
The audio is ©2014 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Another 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.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 11:30 — 4.7MB)
The audio is of course ©2014 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.