The Australian Attorney General’s (AG) office has said that our government are not considering any similar legislation in relation to the current SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and watered down counter act PIPA (Protect Intellectual Property Act) Bill which is to be voted on in the US next week.
In case you’re not up-to-date with this issue, I can tell you that the Bill fundamentally represents a form of legislation that could be introduced in the United States shortly to combat the infringement of copyrighted material (piracy).
Why would this Bill be a bad thing if its to counteract illegal Internet proceedings?
The force behind the push of this Bill are a handful of powerful multimedia companies (namely movie studios and record companies) who say they losing commercial revenue because of the lack of adequate online piracy laws. However many believe if a law that these companies wanted to see legislated was introduced, it could have monolithic consequences.
Those against the Bill are concerned that legislation of this nature would unleash widespread and unaccountable censorship involving non US websites that would block websites at the domain level and that it would greatly interfere with the domain name system (DNS) – the core of the Internet. More importantly, the believe this law could contain measures that would impede online freedom of speech, websites, and internet communities. There is also the argument that suggests a lack of inadequate safeguards mechanisms would not be effectuvely put in place to protect websites and user generated content.
The Attorney General stated that in Australia it should be up to content owners and ISP’s to work together to develop a suitable outcome to address online piracy and that discussions between ISPs and copyright owners were facilitated by the government. This was after ISP iiNet recently won a court battle against a copyright conglomerate of film studios called Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT). At present, an appeal has been lodged by AFACT in the high court of Australia which has yet to be concluded.
Australian Greens Party communications spokesperson ‘Scott Ludlam’ recently asked the government to oppose the Bill as it could not only jeopardise the NBN project, however, along with the negatives as already described, Mr Ludlam also went on to suggest that there should be more representation be in place other than the ISPs and rights holders who both hold commercial interests only as there’s many other parties who will be greatly affected with a potential dumbed-down version of the law in 12 months time.
“Isn’t it interesting that the people that they’ve invited into that forum are the rights holders and carriers, and they appear to have left out the creative people who make the content and the audience …The people who actually matter in that debate aren’t in the room. They’ve invited the intermediaries and the people with commercial interests,”– Scott Ludlam
“We should be in that room, in the copyright debate; otherwise, we are going to get some kind of dumbed-down Australian-flavoured SOPA — 12 months after it resolves itself in the United States, it’ll pop up here; you can absolutely guarantee it.”– Scott Ludlam
“Do they recognise that there will be little purpose in investing tens of billions of dollars in the NBN if the US copyright industry cripples the medium itself?” – Scott Ludlam
Read more at zdnet.com.au – No SOPA for Australia: AG