The Australian Content Industry Group (ACIG), which represents the Australian Recording Industry Association, says that efforts to fight illegal file-sharing should “not include termination of internet accounts” while the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) says it should. Debate occurs in the wake of a UN report calling Internet disconnection a violation of human rights.
Australia’s entertainment industry is split over using Internet disconnection to fight illegal file-sharing now that a UN report has been published calling the practice a likely violation of human rights.
Last week Frank La Rue, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, submitted a report concluding that disconnecting Internet users, “regardless of the justification provided,” including on the grounds of violating intellectual property rights, to be disproportionate and thus a violation of article 19, paragraph 3, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”
That article specifies that everyone has the right to freedom of expression in any type of media.
Though Australia has no Internet disconnection, aka graduated response system, in place the country’s entertainment industry has been pushing for one for some time now.
It seems the country’s entertainment industry is split on the issue. On side you have the music industry (against), and on the other the movie industry (for).
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the recording industry’s music piracy branch, Music Industry Piracy Investigations (MIPI), said there needs to be tools in place to fight illegal file-sharing, but that they should “not include termination of internet accounts.” MIPI conducts investigative, preventative and educational activities in relation to music piracy on behalf of the 125 record companies in Australia.
Sabiene Heindl, general manager of MIPI, added that the sentiment was also the official stance of the Australian Content Industry Group (ACIG) whose members include Microsoft, the Business Software Alliance, Copyright Agency Limited, and the Australian Recording Industry Association.
The split was confirmed by Peter Coroneos, chief executive of the Internet Industry Association, who said his group has noticed a divide between the two over the issue of Internet disconnection. He said the prospect of disconnecting entire households from the Internet has become a “politically toxic proposal” that some copyright holders are distancing themselves from.
The Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) said the movie industry does “not agree that a graduated response scheme is a breach of human rights,” and that in fact, copyright protection is a “human right.”
I guess nobody’s told them that actually the primary purpose of copyright law, at least here in the US, is to provide an incentive for authors to create expression by giving them the exclusive right to that work for a limited period.
From the US Constitution’s so-called Copyright Clause:
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.
Is Australia’s intent with its own copyright laws any less noble? Fines and warnings seem to be doing wonders in Germany, but I guess a group like AFACT even begins blaming ISPs for a failed business model you know consumers are near the bottom of their list of concerns.
La Rue’s report has also led to New Zealand questioning Internet disconnection to fight online infringement in that country as well.