Australian anti-piracy scheme delayed due to postponed agreement

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A new anti-piracy scheme was supposed to start September 1, 2015 but it was delayed due to the postponed agreement between rights holders and internet service providers (ISPs). The scheme would see that Australians would receive copyright infringement notices from their ISPs if they were caught illegally downloading movies, TV shows, and music.

Notice scheme

The notice scheme was designed to warn consumers to stop illegally copying copyrighted materials or face the possibility of having their personal details handed over to the content owners if they get caught pirating more than three times. It was separated from the anti-piracy, website-blocking regime which was passed in June. The scheme, forced by Attorney-General George Brandis and Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull on ISPs, appears to have not met its first deadline.

It was submitted in April with a start date of September 1 to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) but the breakdown of who would pay for it was left absent. According to the ITnews, rights holders want the figure to be $6 but are only prepared to pay about $3. In the meantime, ISPs estimated their costs to be around $27 which includes identifying a pirate, sending a notice, and fielding any helpdesk calls about it.

Foxtel director of corporate affairs Bruce Meagher said “If the cost is too high, the scheme won’t be used,”

When asked what Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull would do if by September 1 the scheme had not been finalised, he told Fairfax Media “We saw that in New Zealand where the government mandated $25 per IP address and no one used the scheme. We’ve got to work out a way of setting a price that encourages the scheme to be used.”

Turnbull said, “I will sit down and have a talk to them and see where they are up to”.

The rights holders and ISPs still have not reached an agreement as of Tuesday, September 1, which means that the scheme can’t start. Nevertheless, this is a good addition to the growing anti-piracy efforts just like the release of TCYK LLC letters and website blocking among others.

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