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Draft Anti-Piracy Code Proposes Infringement Scheme

Draft Anti-Piracy Code Proposes Infringement SchemeThe code, developed by internet service providers (ISPs) and a broad alliance of rights holders, has been published by the Communications Alliance for public comment.

Its publication follows the federal government last year requesting collaboration on the issue, setting a deadline of 120 days for agreement to be reached.

The Communications Alliance states the code, aimed at users who have infringed copyright, is “designed to change their behaviour and steer them toward lawful sources of content”.

Under the code, a series of three infringement notices is proposed over a 12 month period, comprising an eduction notice, a warning notice and a final notice.

The method of detection entails linking an IP address allegedly used for infringements, with notices sent to the account holder.

After the final notice has been sent within 12 months of the education notice being sent, the code states any rights holder whose copyright work has been the subject of an education, warning or final notice will be provided with assistance to take direct copyright infringement action against an account holder.

“The scheme has a strong emphasis on public education and does not contain explicit sanctions against internet users, but does provide for a ‘facilitated preliminary discovery’ process through which ISPs can assist rights holders who may decide to take legal action against persistent infringers,” the Communications Alliance stated.

“The scheme contains strong safeguards against any threat to the privacy of internet users and allows an account holder who receives three infringement notices in a 12-month period to have the validity of the allegations independently reviewed.”

The Communications Alliance further noted that “several key issues are still under discussion between rights holders, including elements of the funding arrangements for the scheme and the volume of notices anticipated to be sent during the scheme’s initial 18 months of operation”.

“These issues are complex and while both industries want to eradicate online copyright infringement, it has proved very difficult in the past for rights holders and ISPs to agree on the shape of a notice scheme,” commented Communication Alliance CEO John Stanton.

“Much work remains, but publication of a draft code is an important milestone toward greater protection for the legitimate rights of the creative industries.”

The code is scheduled to be submitted in final form to the Australian Communications and Media Authority in April this year for registration.