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Australian Officials Borrow U.S. Rhetoric On Canadian Copyright

An Australian blogger reports on a recent conversation with Australian government officials discussing ACTA and copyright related issues.  The report indicates that Australia – which changed its copyright laws under pressure from the U.S. as part of a trade deal – now borrows from the U.S. playbook in criticizing the current state of Canadian law.

5 Comments

  1. As a new media producer that occasionally releases content on the torrents, Australia ranks #2 in connecting IPs, right behind the US which is #1 with respect to downloading content. In fact I’ve actually been offered work over in Australia because of how many people downloaded my content from that country.

    If the goal is to rearrange laws to get ppl off of the P2P sites, Australia should be mums, because nothing they have done to date has worked a great deal with their own citizens.

  2. @Jason K: From the perspective of the folks who appear to be driving the ACTA agenda, its folks like you that are the enemy. The publishers aren’t interested in making it easy for producers to self-promote and publish; they don’t get their tithe (or rather, they don’t get to leave you with a tithe). I suspect that this is no small part of the push for “three accusations” laws (strikes would imply that you are judicially found to actually have, intentionally, flouted the law). Three accusations gives the publishers the ability to shut down a competitor with the force of law and not face racketeering or anti-competition charges.

    Now, is there both personal and commercial piracy that occurs? Of course; you’d have to be incredibly naive to claim there isn’t. However, how much of that is inadvertent piracy? Much of the effort appears to be directed towards that rather than intentional piracy.

  3. @Anon-K
    Innovation has already occurred around the use of P2P on many levels. Innovation traditionally dictates the future of any given industry. If legislators interfere with innovation that has already occurred to try and close off the market, or even booting people from the new marketplace, there will be a huge economic cost to that. We have the right to exist as well without impediment. There are more of us then there are of them. We don’t have the money they do, but we are virtually driving change in media. We’re not the enemy, we’re the future ๐Ÿ™‚ The more they fight it, the more exposure it seems we get.

    If I had it my way, I wouldn’t be interfering at all with respect to the consumer and user side of this debate. The market should decide who survives and who folds, not legislation. It would be more money for me, and I would be able to live quite the comfortable life. However copyright reform is needed to protect against commercial piracy. That I don’t agree with. But consumers shouldn’t pay the price for the actions of a few.

  4. @Jason K
    “The enemy” is dependent upon your point of view. For a moment step back and look at it from the point of view of the publishers that appear to be driving some of the ACTA provisions. They don’t create, they merely profit off of the works of others by providing a means to market and distribute those works so the creators don’t have to (for now lets not consider the compilation works). Creators who self-publish, to the publishers, would be considered a threat to their profits. That is the sense in which I am using the term “enemy”.

    The actions they are taking are, given that, consistent with protecting their profitability. Remember, these companies don’t provide the service for philanthropic reasons, it is about “maximizing shareholder value” (weasel words for driving up the share price). Many companies express the opinion of the market deciding who survives or fails; generally these companies are in a profitable sector at the time so any government “interference” is viewed as detrimental to their profits. When the tables turn, in particular when there is too much competition, they start to look to the government to enact policies which reduce competition and help them retain the profits, and hence share price. This inconsistency is not unexpected; the management of the company is doing its job to protect the shareholders investment. Pushing for “3 accusations” to me smacks of desperation.

    Government is supposed to protect the residents and citizens of the country. What some forget is that corporations are, in effect, citizens of the country as well (among other things, they pay taxes). Therefore the government is placed in the position of trying to deal with the conflicting desires of multiple groups. They need to balance the rights of the consumers with the rights of the publishers with the rights of the creators. Is this going well? Not particularly. The publishers are speaking with only a few voices; these voices are well funded and are therefore able to be fairly constant in presenting their case. For the other groups, they are not so well organized, and less able to present a coherent message as often. The lobbyists don’t necessarily even need to dump money directly at the politician; that would be illegal (assuming it isn’t a registered donation to a political party it would be bribery). However they are able to purchase ad space and time which indirectly makes a pitch, even if they don’t meet with the ministers.

    As a citizen, it therefore behooves you to express any concerns that you have directly to your MP and through organizations which are able to pool resources to represent your point, not just through vehicles such as comments on a blog. Understand I am not trying to put you down here. Rather I am trying to point out that, if you take the time to contact your MP, and the cabinet, with correspondence that personally identifies you, and if you can get a number of your friends and colleagues to do the same, that will carry more weight than a semi-anonymous comment on a blog, regardless of how well intentioned. After all, in a representative democracy, it is the squeaky wheel that gets the grease.

  5. @Anon-K
    I’ve been actively involved in letting all sectors of government know what my personal opposition has been on this backed up with empirical evidence for over 2 years. My MP is Van Loan. I’ve also been taking a large amount of time and effort to “decode” those in industry around the issues at hand. I completely understand all points of view and with the difficult task that our government has on the balancing act that’s before them. Don’t forget I am part of the media industry. I have backgrounds both in Journalism/Broadcasting and in IT. I know all about profits and who stands to gain or lose in the short term under basically all circumstances. I have to be able to adapt to any changes that are put forth in the marketplace, in order to stay competitive.

    “Pushing for “3 accusations” to me smacks of desperation.”

    I completely agree with that. My personal views are this; equalization in the marketplace is unavoidable. Deterrence no matter how small or irrelevant to enforcement they are, fuels opposition and revolution. A balanced approach means bringing in laws that largely can not be enforced, or monetizing the networks. It won’t change the dynamics technological innovation in industry. Business will not be effected very much in the grand scheme of things with these changes to legislation, it’s been over 10 years. Industry doesn’t stop innovating or adapting to change, only a few are guilty of that, and that’s something the market will sort out, not legislation. They will go out bitching about piracy until their bitter end, when it’s not piracy that killed their businesses, it was the innovators and new corporate leaders that understand the marketplace that have. I’m perfectly okay with that ๐Ÿ˜‰ Legislation can’t stop this from happening, it can only delay it (if that’s even possible at this point).

    As far as the 3 strikes policy, anybody that thinks after WW2 global society is going to provide that type of power to government let alone corporations is insane. It won’t happen, society won’t let it. Look at the ground swell of opposition to ACTA already and we don’t even know 100% what’s in it. It’s a pipe dream. Even that suggestion has the global community up in arms. There was a British pop singer called “Lilly Allen” a few months back that posted something up on myspace about supporting the 3 strikes policy, a few days later after some pretty nasty comments, she was actually thinking about leaving music all together. Her reputation was hit hard by that. Lot’s of fun puns on her around the net ๐Ÿ˜‰ The future is already here, consumers have already won, the rest is “politics”. Innovators will take care of the rest.