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New Australian legislation would put copyright infringers under a "three strikes" policy. The third strike would result in ISP account termination.  (Source: Sony Pictures)
The Aussies look to follow a British proposal to force ISPs to terminate filesharers

In what could be described as a filesharer's worst nightmare and the RIAA's sweetest dream, Great Britain and now Australia are debating legislation that seeks to force internet service providers (ISPs) to drop customers whom are found to be downloading copyrighted material.

The International Federation for the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), a media watchdog and parent of the RIAA, championed the efforts.  It says that over one billion songs in Australia alone were downloaded illegally, yearly, costing the music industry an untold fortune in revenue.

The new Aussie and British legislation calls for a three strikes policy.  A first offense, which the government categorizes as accessing music, TV shows and movies illegally, would result in a warning letter from your ISP.  A second offense would result in a temporary suspension of your ISP account.  A third strike and you're out -- the ISP would terminate your account.

Australian Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said the Government was aware of the music industry's stance that ISPs should be legally forced to adopt a music industry sanctioned code of conduct.  It also is aware of the similar pending British legislation.  Conroy states, "We will also examine any UK legislation on this issue [including any three-strikes policy] with particular interest."

Music Industry Piracy Investigations general manager Sabiene Heindl put in over a year of lobbying to try to get the effort through.  She says 2.8 million Australians downloaded music illegally last year, and not enough is being done to stop them.  She argues, "Because P2P file sharing involves these music files sitting on individual people's computers, there is very little that MIPI can do to remove those files or stop them being shared.  That's why we have been pushing a proposal to internet service providers for a commonsense system of warning notices which, if unheeded, would ultimately result in a user having their account suspended or disconnected."

ISPs are unhappy with the move.  National Internet Industry Association chief executive Peter Corones plans on airing his constituents’ complaints to Mr. Conroy later this week.  Mr. Corones argues that current penalties are "stiff enough".  In Australia downloading music can land you injunctions, damages and costs, fines of up to $60,500 for individuals and up to $302,500 for corporations per infringement and up to five years' jail -- nothing to sneeze at.  Corones argues, "Internet service providers are not the enforcers of copyright."

The statement is a sharp juxtaposition to ISP policies in the U.S. and abroad.  In recent months, it has been revealed that Comcast and other ISPs indeed "police their connections" by throttling P2P traffic, a policy which may be illegal.

The new legislation will likely anger Australia's youth.  In a survey of Australians between the ages of 10 and 17, 63 percent felt there was no point paying for music and it should be freely available, mirroring the music industry's worst fears.  Unfortunately for these young people, the days of carefree downloading may soon be at an end.

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Oh really?
By Belegost on 2/19/2008 12:45:25 AM , Rating: 5
"It says that over one billion songs in Australia alone were downloaded illegally, yearly"

"She says 2.8 million Australians downloaded music illegally last year"

That averages to 357 songs per downloader....

Anyone else think that's a wee bit high?

RE: Oh really?
By InternetGeek on 2/19/2008 12:57:31 AM , Rating: 2
She's putting it at about 1 song per day. Not much compared to other parts of the world where the Intertubes might actually be faster.

This will only make Intertubes access more expensive to cover the costs of the IT related to detecting when someone is downloading ilegally. Remember there is more than one way to get a song.

RE: Oh really?
By Nik00117 on 2/19/2008 4:47:23 AM , Rating: 2
No actually i'd say that could be about right.

I mean there are some poeple who will deal with several various bands. My friend is into at least 13-14 underground rock bands. At the same time enjoying all the more popular bands. For him 357 songs is nothing.

Last year my music collection was 20 gigs, now its 30 gigs. At 4 MB a song your talking 2,500 additonal songs to my already 5k songs. Not much of a strecth.

RE: Oh really?
By jajig on 2/19/2008 8:37:29 AM , Rating: 2
I can't imagine where you would find the time to listen to all that. To me it sounds like downloading for the sake of it.

RE: Oh really?
By SilthDraeth on 2/19/2008 9:54:42 AM , Rating: 2
I second this notion. I think people download songs just for the sake of having them. Sort of a kleptomaniac of digital content.

There is no possible way you can even memorize 7500 different songs,
You would have to leave your PC playing music on random no repeat for one hour a day for a full year without adding additional songs to it in order to hear every song.

RE: Oh really?
By FITCamaro on 2/19/2008 1:46:21 PM , Rating: 2
Definitely agree. I have like maybe 500 songs on my computer.

However video, I have lots of. But I don't really download it. Netflix FTW. ;)

About the only thing I'm downloading recently is the new Terminator show because I'm sending the episodes to a friend who's deployed overseas. To give him a taste of home. If letting our troops enjoy a bit of what they've left behind is a crime, call me guilty.

RE: Oh really?
By NEOCortex on 2/19/2008 3:15:53 PM , Rating: 2
I also don't "adopt" new music into my music collect at a high rate either, maybe an album or two a month. I find it difficult to process music at a faster rate, seeing as how some albums/songs/bands take time to get use to before I fully appreciate them.

That being said, I have over 4000 songs in my collection, and I'm very familiar with a good 90% of them. And I'm always looking, to some degree, for more good music.

Can't say I would be a big fan of a law such as this, as I'm pretty dependent on torrents to get episodes of tv shows, such as LOST and Prison Break. I'd really prefer to dl and watch them all at once after my semester is over instead of being forced to watch each week at a certain time.

RE: Oh really?
By mindless1 on 2/19/2008 8:02:23 AM , Rating: 2
Of course it's high, they use figures that support their position, then further fudge claiming it's all going to be loss to the industry.

One thing is clear, youth don't feel like (nor have the income to support!) paying for the music they claim as loss.

RE: Oh really?
By SavagePotato on 2/19/2008 8:56:12 AM , Rating: 2
With bittorrent I wouldn't be surprised.

After all most of whats out there are full albums at the least and more often than not entire artist discographies.

For an artist with a larger history you could blow 327 songs on one band.

RE: Oh really?
By random git on 2/19/2008 3:42:18 PM , Rating: 3
As the number of songs downloaded by a relatively small amount of people it's high but plausible. On the other hand claiming that each and every one of those downloads was lost revenue is laughable.

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