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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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In a survey .....
By numbnuts on 2/19/2008 3:57:05 AM , Rating: 3
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.

Funny, at that age there is very little you would say is worth paying for. Especially since your parents are paying for your broadband/ISP and you can download illegally then watch your parents get chased by the RIAA.

In a survey of the global popuation 99.9% felt that the RIAA are a bunch of morons that the world would not miss for a second (okay you caught me, there was no such survey)

RE: In a survey .....
By Zensen on 2/19/2008 5:57:03 AM , Rating: 2
I can understand piracy and this can stifle businesses but surely this is not as important as other issues like housing expenses and health care. sheesh! This is another waste of time that wont help the majority of Australians. I dislike moving into a house thats pair gained! legislate that to be illegal :)

So will companies be prepared to lower the price of admission to cinemas and the price of a cd and dvd? figured as much...

and seriously who the hell cares about the opinions of 10 to 17 year old bracket when it comes to purchasing these things. They are well looked after by their parents for the most part. a better view is from a 18-30. people with purchasing power and I'm sure that result would look a helluva lot different.

RE: In a survey .....
By Proteusza on 2/19/2008 7:28:18 AM , Rating: 5
I bought WAY more cds when I was 10-17 than I do now.

I can afford more now, but I dont see it as good value. I already have my collection of CDs and Mp3s, and to be frank, the record companies' attitude is offputting enough for me to not want to give them money.

10-17 year olds not feeling its worth is a BIG deal. in a few years they will have the money to buy whatever they want, instead of depending on the parents, and I dont think their purchase rate will go up.

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