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Australia looks to tackle illegal downloading

Australia looks to tackle illegal downloading

Once again the debate surrounding online piracy and suitable ways to police the downloading of copyright material in Australia is making headlines as a new form of control legislation is put forward for review.

Once again the debate surrounding online piracy and suitable ways to police the downloading of copyright material in Australia is making headlines as a new form of control legislation is put forward for review.


It is a subject that has polarised ISPs with Telstra and the Communications Alliance sitting ostensibly on one side of the fence and iiNet on the other.

With Telstra and the Communications Allowance in tentative support of a scheme that opposes online piracy without impunity, iiNet has outright rejected the proposal for a graduated response scheme to be introduced. 

iiNet argues that it should not be the responsibility of the ISP to fund an overhaul that would allow the monitoring and policing of customer data usage when those benefitting won’t be required to shoulder any of the financial burden.

In its submission to the recent discussion paper on the subject they note that while “some companies may be ready to absorb the costs…it would be inappropriate for the government to design legislation to force companies to retain information they don’t need or want so they can police the internet, at no cost to those that will benefit.”

Telstra have taken a more cautious approach to the issue. While remaining sceptical over the effectiveness of the three-strike proposal, they have acknowledged the risk carriers face of being held liable by content owners for breach of copyright law when their service is used for illegal downloading.

As Telstra show themselves open to appeasing the content owners in order to protect themselves, the Communications Allowance also said it “remains willing to engage in good faith discussions with rights holders”.

With the proposed legislation under review, the subject has aroused debate further afield over the price Australian’s pay to access content compared with the rest of the world. It is reasonably suggested that in this country we pay well over the odds for premium content such as Foxtel and that this forces those who can’t afford these services to look elsewhere.

Whichever side of the debate you come down on, this complex debate rages on and we watch with interest. 

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