The Federal Attorney General’s office has confirmed that the Government is considering a possible Australian Law Reform Commission review of the country’s copyright law, but the news has been met calmly by one internet service provider (ISP) very familiar with the nation's existing laws, iiNet.
The ISP's chief regulatory officer, Steve Dalby, was unmoved by the timing of the announcement and the recent conclusion of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) draft, as well as with its own appeal case with the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT).
He also noted that any Australian Law Reform Commission review would take some time to complete, while any changes proposed would need to be drafted and then pass through the parliament.
“Given the makeup of the current parliament, it's possible that any changes would also take a very slow path to passage,” Dalby said.
“I don't think we will see any changes effected any time soon. If and when changes are made, my expectations are that they are unlikely to affect our case."
Dalby added that even if the AFACT appeal ran to the High Court, it was possible a final judgment would be handed down before any legislative changes were enacted.
"It would be highly unusual if [the new copyright laws] were retrospective,” he said.
Dalby also reiterated comments made to Computerworld Australia last week, that Australia’s legislation was likely to remain untouched as a result of the final ACTA agreement draft.
“… The ACTA outcome suggests the current shape of the legislation is considered appropriate by the government, today, so any changes are unlikely to be radical,” he said.
Internet Industry Association (IIA) chief executive, Peter Coroneos, declined to comment on the extent to which a review of Australia’s copyright law could affect ISPs but said the industry body would be watching any review “closely”.
A spokesperson for the Attorney-General’s office declined to comment on the purpose of a potential review of Australia’s copyright law, the intended outcome of the review, or whether the AFACT vs iiNet case or the ACTA draft had prompted a review.
“The Government is considering a possible [Australian Law Reform Commission] review of copyright law,” the spokesperson said. “The Government will provide updates as developments occur.”