ADA Media Release: Online Copyright Infringement

The announcement that there will be no changes to authorisation liability in the scheme to tackle online copyright infringement has been welcomed by the Australian Digital Alliance.

“This is an excellent result for Australian schools, universities, online industries and other service providers” said the Australian Digital Alliance’s Trish Hepworth

“The original proposal to alter authorisation liability would have increased legal risk and uncertainty for the sector. By moving to a code based solution, rightsholders ISPs and hopefully consumers can work constructively on a mutually agreeable solution, without the unintended consequences for others”

Industry has been given 3 months to work out the details of the code, which will then be registered by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), making it mandatory for all Australian ISPs. 

Other service providers will continue to work under the legal doctrine of ‘authorisation liability’.

“Schools, universities and online platforms take their responsibilities seriously” says Trish Hepworth

“As indicated by the Communications Minister on Tuesday night they will continue to take reasonable steps to prevent online copyright infringement”

The sector was however disappointed that the extension to safe harbours, which had been proposed in the original discussion paper, was not being implemented. 

“This was a simple, positive reform, in the interests of everybody.  Safe harbours give a clear framework for rightsholders to report infringing material and have it removed.  They have inbuilt safeguards of due process for consumers and they let service providers manage legal risk”

In Australia, safe harbours only apply to Carriage Service Providers (ISPs) rather than the broader ‘Service Providers’ in other countries such as the US, This lack of protection is the result of a minor error in the implementation of the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement 10 years ago.

“The net result is that Australia is a less attractive place to host online services.  We would strongly support quick moves to make this simple change that would support Australian innovation and industry” 

© 2016 - Australian Digital Alliance

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