Rudd non-committal on copyright law change chances

Prime Minister deflects copyright question on ABC's Q&A program

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has shied away from committing to legislative change to copyright enforcement in the wake of the AFACT v iiNet decision at the Federal Court of Australia last week.

In a move welcomed by the ISP industry, Justice Cowdroy, dismissed a case by the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) against iiNet, finding the ISP had not facilitated copyright infringement by its customers.

After the decision some commentators suggested there could be legislative reform put in place to strengthen copyright enforcement.

On the ABC's Q&A program last night, a special youth episode, Rudd, philosophised over intellectual copyright and the rights of artists to own their property.

The prime minister's comments came in response to a question from the audience: "It’s so easy to download music and movies from the internet and difficult to determine which sites are legitimate, what is your government’s position on the balance between young people’s desire to access affordable entertainment, against musicians desire to protect their creative output?"

"I can't say 'here is a dividing line up the middle," Rudd said.

"My son does this himself, I hope lawfully.

"Getting this balance right is important. I am not aware that we have current changes in mind.

"I'll read the decision of the court and see what they have to say. But secondly, look this is an open culture…if the laws are through the courts been interpreted in a particular way…then we'll have a look at the decision and see what we can do. But I don't want to frankly make an announcement on any policy."

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and content rights holders should jointly formulate a code.

"I would hope to encourage the ISPs and the movie industries to sit down and try and come up with a code of conduct, and let’s see where that goes before we start leaping off down the path," Conroy told ABC's Hungry Beast.

"The problem in Australia today is that there is no agreement, there is no discussion, there is no dialogue and people resort to court.

"I have been trying for two years to encourage dialogue."

The Western Australia Internet Association said the iiNet win has brought certainty to consumers and industry and has implied that "the right of families to access the Internet" is protected.

West Australian Networks CEO Kevin Emery said the case was a victory for the Internet Industry.

"Anything that interferes with the transmission of data compromises the ability for an ISP to deliver maximum speed and reliability to consumers," Emergy said in a written statement.

The organisation said law enforcement should target individual users who breach copyright.

Tags Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT)Prime Minister Kevin RuddISPsAFACT v iiNetcopyrightiiNet

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Conroy just doesnt understand whats going on ! An agreement between ISP's and the Movie Industry ?? What would that translate to ? Not much I think given that material on the net will always be downloaded !



it cant be regulated, movies and shows are recorded digitally and there is no way to secure digital software. if software secure the media then software will unsecure it.
the movie industry need to include subliminhal and "product in use" advertising to make up the revenue.
put simply, it was the movie industry the chose publicly available recordable media(ie DVD's) i bet to increase revenue and keep production costs down. well that didnt work, did it.

Max T


One thing is for certain.

If Rudd and that bone-head, Conroy CAN get it wrong, they WILL.

Neither of them are worth a gill of piss. IMO.



This whole push to force any organisation doing business to monitor and enforce legal behaviour by their customers or face prosecution and damages for being a "facilitator" has nasty implications. Establishing the law by legal harassment of a smaller business until it cannot afford further defense also stinks.
If a 20ish driver buys a powerful car and is accused of breaking the law by speeding, can the vehicle seller, dealer mechanics and petrol suppliers be sued for facilitating law infringement ?
Are service businesses liable for consequent damages if someone bulk copies and sells DVDs from downloads, or crashes a vehicle and kills and maims ?

Johhny T


Please track down and watch the documentary films "Good Copy, Bad Copy" and RiP : A Remix Manifesto.

These films accurately portray the moral dilemma more and more consumers find themselves in.

The legal framework built by studios and labels to protect govern the trade of their legally owned and produced product is fair and should not be changed in any way, after all, the studos and publishers helped create it.

The new threat is not the ISP's or the consumers, is the mentality of our politicians. They are hell bent on criminalising consumers for wanting to consume.

We don't blame the politicians, but rather blame them for their lack of understanding the reasons and motivations behind the consumers choice to download content as opposed to other traditional methods of consumption.

This market and it's consumers must be deemed legal or illegal now!

Either proctected or destroyed. The least we can do screw it all up and see the error in our ways so that future generations will not suffer from our ineptitude and inability to govern a new commercial marketplace.



Copyright law is here to promote the progress of science and useful arts. It is here for the benefit of society as a whole not for individuals.

Copyright laws need to be softened not hardened. The length of time copyright lasts for is wrong and benefits a tiny minority. There is plenty of evidence that proves you can prosper without copyright. History and up coming business models tell the story.



as i've always said, get rid of the distributor. make everyone a distributor of content.

eg. you pay $1 to dl a movie.
if you help with the upload you get some money back, maybe 1:3 ratio. so if you upload it once you get 33cents back. that means the movie was only 66cents to you.

movie companies MUST adapt or it will get worse for them.

$1 a movie is reasonable considering there is:
no physical distribution
no retail markup
no physical cost of cd, case, cover

everyone is already a consumer/distributor.. USE THE SYSTEM

The muzz


Lets face the facts. Bullying ISP's into meeting the legislative requirements of the Australian Government will have soon prove to be useless. ISP's will most likely "turn off the switch" rather than comply with impractical legislation imposed by the Australian government.

Needless to say, trying to regulate, monitor the internet is also improbable if not impossible goal of any government. It simply will never work! Users will eventually find other discreet ways of file sharing content either through the internet, through WAN or p2p networks.

Brad Marsh


The movie magnates created this environment that is ripe for exploitation by downloaders and suppliers.

They create a situation where you have a movie showing at a cinema for 3-5 weeks, then for about 6 months it is not available for the public legally. So you get illegal downloads filling the gap in the supply chain because people want to see the move, they might be willing to pay for it but it is just not available.

This is the trick of things, if you give people an option most will opt for a legal way to consume, lacking that option they will still consume. If you can not give people what they want then they will find another way to get it, like drugs, like underage drinking. So you have a choice, work with the market as it is, not as you design it, or lose money.



I was appalled by the moral judgement and unduly light appreciation demonstrated by the Prime Minister.
Simply theft is theft and I see no merit in the comments listed here.
they demonstrate a lack of morality and appreciation of both the law and what is right and decent.
These same people probably see nothing wrong with shoplifting or the "borrowing of a car" because they are too lazy to walk home from the pub.
It is a pity that the industries and artists should have to seek to protect their rights in law because of a lack of morality in some people.



Theft? Where were the people who are currently running around shouting Theft when the music industry was charging thirty dollars AU for a CD that cost them one dollar AU to produce? That was theft from consumers wallets on a grand scale. For decades. And please tell me we are not gonig to be subjected to any more crocodile tears from the industry about the plight of small artists protecting their copyright. The industry has never given a stuff about small artists. They have paid them peanuts for decades. And now suddenly we are meant to believe their are oh so concerned about the so called damaged caused by illegal downloads? Please. Speaking of profits, didn't a certain movie called Avatar just make the most money of all time for a film. If so, then why is Mr Murdoch crying poor and blaming illegal downloaders. He is making more money that ever from traditional methods of distribution.



OMG powhiro, what a comment !!

you do know that the US film studio ran away from New York to Hollywood to avoid paying royalties for edison's filming technology???



There are 2 ways to motivate actions, the 'carrot' or the 'stick' approach. Governments usually resort to the 'stick' by taxes or punishments, and the studios are trying the 'stick' of threats to scare people from downloading.

The 'carrot' approach takes more cost and effort because they have to offer something more attractive than the status quo.

Make cheap legal dowloads available of what consumers want. and when they want them and people will beat a path to their door.

Despite movies and TV shows being broadcast on free TV for decades it never stopped people being happy to pay for good quality copies of the same content on store shelves. By the studio's logic, nobody would ever have purchased a copy of a show once it had been broadcast on TV.

If DVD sales have recently dropped it simply reflects the boom and fall of DVD penetration with consumers having already bought up most of their back catalog and now seeing nothing on offer that they want.

Martin Barr-David


The Hollywood cartel need to change they distribute their material as said above and lower cost of sale.



This may seem like its off-topic, but an important factor to consider is that a lot people (downloaders, copyrighters, people debating above, politicians, etc) seen to presume that technology is somehow going to stay much the same in the future. As some have already mentioned, software protects media, therefore software can break protection. There IS a way to encrypt and protect software so no-one can hack it - quantum encryption. It costs way too much - currently. Its not inconceivable it will be more widely available in a decade - or less. Hardware, software and the Internet are evolving at a rate like no other technology we've used before in history. It is a globally shared medium, with a lot of altruistic contributors who want to keep things altruistic - and they're forcing software giants to pay attention. They're forcing copyright enforcers to cower. "Artists", no longer obsessed with fame are encouraging the concept of sharing, thus making copyright look selfish and stupid. Together, these artists and software producers are tipping sacred cows.
Thanks to them, sharing (which seems to be some kind of weird innate thing with us humans) is becoming easier. You can legislate all you want, what human hands have made, human hands can break.
And given the speed of soft/hardware evolution, laws will always be YEARS behind, for laws are made by bureaucretins.

Roy G Biv


As long as content providers continue to beat up on their potential clients through AFACT or any government lobby group they will continue to be denied a potential gold-rush of income.

AFACT say they are protecting the "50,000 Australian" jobs. In fact they are placing them in jeopardy. Perhaps these very same Australian artists might do well to review the role being played by their dinosaur distribution companies.

Beating up on your customers is NOT on guys! Get with the Game or Get Extinct.

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