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iiNet Rejects Gov’s Anti-Piracy Proposals

iiNet Rejects GovThe telco has blamed over pricing of content for Australians, policy makers and US interests’ “failed, pre-internet business model” for illegal downloads by consumers down under, in a recent submission to Communications Alliance.

The submission made by iiNet’s Chief Regulation Officer, Steve Dalby, also rejects the government ‘graduated’ proposals to stamp out piracy, where the ISP is forced to block ‘illegal’ downloads, and believes its not an ISP’s job to fix the piracy issue.

Unlike Optus and Telstra, the telco also rejected the government ‘three strike’ or graduated response proposals to piracy, which implicate ISP’s, pointing to international evidence that such schemes reduce infringement is “extraordinarily thin.” 

“We don’t accept that threatening or disconnecting our customers is the appropriate approach to reduce online copyright infringements.”

iiNet is also concerned that this approach “leaves open the possibility that the legal liability for authorisation, not just for ISPs, but for all sectors in the community. “

“It would, however, be clearly inappropriate for the government to design legislation for a whole industry around such a small subset of more than a thousand companies’ systems and processes, and then force all these companies to retain information they don’t currently need or want to retain so they can police the Internet, at no cost to those that will benefit.”

He blames higher cost of ‘legal’ downloads for current piracy levels, and says its wrong for the laws to assert online copyright infringement is ‘theft’, rejecting claims Australians are among the biggest pirates in the world. 

“Much of the desirable content available for purchase by Internet subscribers in other jurisdictions is priced higher in Australia, released on delay, or never made available.”

“Australian consumers and businesses do not accept that they should be punished because US interests refuse to modify their failed, pre-internet business model, in order to satisfy a legitimate demand for desirable digital content.”   

Online distribution costs are borne by consumers, writes Dalby, and “addressing this market failure would address the feedback consumers have been providing.”

However, he supports the approach, which directly targets websites which derive advertising and subscriber revenue from online infringement. 

“iiNet’s own longstanding policy is to diligently avoid advertising its products and services on such websites.”

Without concrete actions against these content providers, “the proposals are unworkable, lack balance and good faith.”

iiNet is no stranger to piracy, having previously been involved in a long running court battle with content providers, who accused the Perth-based ISP of authorizing customers’ illegal downloads by refusing to block or take steps to prevent them from doing so.