Website blocks, court orders, three strikes: Rights holders want it all



blog So you’ve seen the reports about Federal Attorney-General George Brandis resuscitating the failed talks between ISPs and content owners about the pesky problem of Internet piracy? Have you ever wondered what measures the rights-holders feel should be taken to address such issues? Fear not, industry publication Mumbrella has published an extensive article (we recommend you click here for the full piece) detailing their demands. The site reports:

“Vanessa Hutley, general manager of Music Rights Australia told Mumbrella: ‘We hope the Attorney General will do as he said and allow rights holders to go to court and get a court order that would have ISPs block these sites’ … ASTRA’s Andrew Maiden said three strikes might be a way of changing consumer behaviour and shifting it to legal services such as Foxtel’s Play and Presto services, and Quikflix.”

So, in short, nothing big then. Just court orders to block websites and three strikes policies to cut off users’ Internet access if they pirate a few too many pieces of content. And of course, the issue of subpoena’ing users’ details from ISPs so they can be sued directly was already put back on the table by Brandis himself.

You know, the Australian representatives of content owners never cease to surprise me. The experience of ‘three strikes’ regimes in countries such as New Zealand and France has shown that such schemes do little to stop piracy occurring. It’s virtually impossible to block websites in 2014, with the widespread availability of Virtual Private Network technology. And, of course, the legality of subpoena’ing individual users’ details from ISPs is still legally questionable. But none of this will stop the rights-holders from trying every measure they can to deal with Internet piracy — every measure, that is, apart from making their content available in the format and at the price that end users want.

Blocking Australians from watching Game of Thrones on any platform but Foxtel’s extremely limited and pricey service and throwing the legal book at those who seek other options is not the way to go if you want to stop piracy. But then, Hollywood has never been big on common sense. And it appears now they’ve found an Attorney-General who shares that same attribute.

Image credit: Still from Game of Thrones


  1. As someone who had a pay-to-view website, I am surprised to see Renai seemingly so against the protection of intellectual property.

    • I’m not against the protection of intellectual property; I’m against multinational corporations taking a heavy-handed approach to enforcing their copyrights, while not making their content available on fair terms.

      I never tried to sue anyone or cut off their Internet access for copying Delimiter 2.0 articles.

      • I believe weak enforcement is no enforcement. If you are going to protect your property you should be able do so effectively and without one hand tied behind your back.

        I am not sure why consideration should be given to those who infringe the rights of others – especially when we are not talking about life and death. No-one is having their water supply diverted here. If you are not prepared to pay the going rate for entertainment… choose some other entertainment or go without. It won’t kill you.

        Hell, even get your mates to boycott it to try to punish the content owner if you believe that sales and money are so important to them.

          • You´ll never see the $20, I´m still waiting for him to email me a chocolate bar, after his ridiculous claim that file sharing is the same as stealing chocolate from a store.

        • Your fault for choosing to publish your intellectual property on a website then Guest.

          There are plenty of other mediums open to you that will allow you to protect your property ‘with both hands’.

        • Your response is atypical of the content industry Guest, in that they want the discussion to be one way.

          It doesnt matter whats presented in front of them, its not good enough, is biased, blatantly false, presently by one of those dirty pirates, or something.

          Studies proving that downloaders are actually beneficial for the industry? Ignored, even when presented by national industry groups – Canada’s version of the RIAA has done it, and it was shot down by the US version. Evidence that 3 strikes does nothing? Again ignored, even when its shown by national governments like France and NZ. Privacy rights of individuals? Worth being violated to get them dirty pirates in court.

          They want all the rights to be one way, and anyone that even tries to create a simple debate on it is basically tarred and feathered, and run out of town. Hardly the stance of a group looking for a mutually beneficial solution. And you’re response is typical of that mentality – to hell with the world moving on, you still want your horse shoe business to survive in a motor vehicle world.

          The irony for me is that when the same thing happened in the past, other people came along and provided a solution largely outside the industry – iTunes look over from Napster, and Steam (with other software houses linking in or doing the same thing) took over from most of the gamez scene.

          • “It doesnt matter whats presented in front of them, its not good enough…”

            So, we have people taking stuff that doesn’t belong to them and without the owners’ permission – and the response of those doing the wrong thing, and their supporters, is for the owners to change the way and pricing of their property and people won’t steal it.

            That sounds like blackmail to me, and you wonder why “its not good enough”.

            How about people stop doing the wrong thing? Is that not a more reasonable suggestion?

            Are you suggesting that if I have a garage sale and price everything exorbitantly it will then be OK for people to then just come in and take it all without paying (HINT: yes, that is what you are suggesting).

            This sense of entitlement over an episode of a popular movie, television show or song is ludicrous.

            Price it or distribute it on our terms or we will take it? Seriously?

          • And yet again, you want the conversation to be one way.

            Sorry, you can go fuck off right there, I dont want any of the kool aid you’re selling.

            I dont watch Game of Thrones. I dont download it, I dont buy the series, I havent seen any more than the first 3 eps I watched at a mates a year or so back. I couldnt care less about the actual show, its the greed behind it I care about.

            Foxtel has fucked over every Australian by setting a precedent. Locking up every avenue to watching the show behind at least $74 is disgusting, and something that people are going to protest against. And the easiest protest is to download the show(s) for free.

            I have a movie collection insured for $25,000. It would cost at least that to replace it. Are you telling me that I’m costing the industry money?

            If I download a copy of a movie I already own, I’m format shifting, nothing else. I want to be able to watch it on my iPad, and have already paid $40 for it. $40 for a version that didnt come with a digital copy. You probably dont care but I also have the right under the Telecommunications act to have a backup copy, or a reasonable facsimile thereoff for any digital media I own. I cant break DRM in getting that copy, but I’m not the one breaking DRM, its the uploader doing that.

            So I’m not a pirate, I’m enforcing my legal right to a backup copy, or a reasonable facsimile.

            And your response is to label me a dirty pirate, with NO consideration for the tens of thousands I’ve spent buying movies, or any other legislation that gets in the way. Seriously, this is what pisses me off. The rights holders have a single law they want to enforce, and to hell with every other law.

            They wont allow any debate on it, its a black and white issue to them. And you yourself do the same thing – there is NO middle ground. No grey area, and no consideration given to that perhaps the content holders are part of the problem.

            I ask you this. Within our society, when did it become more important to protect copyright law at the expense of privacy law?

          • “… its the greed behind it I care about.”

            Then do it the legitimate way – the legal way – boycott them and their products. If the market won’t support their pricing they will move to meet the market.

            For now they are legitimately defending their rights against the theft of their property.

            No-one believes an argument when people take the easy way out.

            “Your right to swing your arms ends just where the other man’s nose begins”.

            The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a good place to start when considering the rights of both the consumer and the creator and owner of property, intellectual or otherwise. I consider you read it.

          • Would that be the same The Universal Declaration of Human Rights that gives us a RIGHT to reasonable access and use of Copyright material?

            Is that why you didn´t post a link to it this time, like you did last time, so that we wouldn´t read that part of the Declaration?

          • For christs sake, did you even read what I wrote? I DO do it the legal way. I dont watch Game of Thrones, I dont download it, I havent bought it. By their practices, its a lost sale. Not me pirating, or anything I’ve done, but by the draconian attitude of the industry. They made it hard to watch the show, so I never saw it and hence never had the urge to buy it. They did the same with Breaking Bad, The Wire, House of Cards, and so many others its ridiculous. By doing the right thing, I have missed these gems, and have no plans to buy them. Their loss.

            I DO go to the movies. I DO buy the discs. People who take these measures are still unhappy, but as soon as we say something we get closed minded fools like you telling us to do crap we shouldnt need to. And cant fathom that we could possibly have a point. Even with numerous pieces of proof, its apparently not possible.

            The only time its been a lost sale to the industry is when they’ve made it a lost sale – when Foxtel hides shows behind multiple paywalls. I had Foxtel for 15 years. Over that time, I watched them take the popular shows and add them to “specialised” channels.

            Shows available on the basic package suddenly hidden away where it would cost you another $15 to get access. When you had those shows split between 3 or 4 channels, that you couldnt bundle, suddenly its $50 extra on top of the basic package.

            You clearly beleive that Foxtel have every right to hold people to ransom in that way. I dont, just as clearly. But I’ve done what you’ve asked – boycotted the products. So why cant I complain about the reasons that led me to that boycott?

            “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a good place to start when considering the rights of both the consumer and the creator and owner of property, intellectual or otherwise. I consider you read it.”

            Good point. What about Article’s 11 and 12? They seem to be ignored when it comes to copyright. Everyone has the right to be presumed innocent, and no one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy or correspondence. Irrelevant to the MPAA, and RIAA, they must be ignored.

            Again, when did it become the accepted standard that corporate rights are more important than the individual?


            ITS NOT A TWO WAY STREET! Every discussion on this is at the exclusion of the consumer and THEIR rights. Or have you missed the “public forums” where consumer groups were told they werent welcome, or the hidden meetings in Canberra where the discussions were 100% redacted when FOI requested? This is repeated around the globe.

            You clearly have a personal interest, and thats fine, but dont assume everyone speaking up on this is hiding something, or are “taking the easy way out”. There are plenty out there simply pissed off with attitudes that dont help solve the problem. Like yours, Foxtels, RIAA’s, MPAA, AFACT, and so on. Its greed, and are solely concerned about profit rather than the product they pretend to provide.

          • “Good point. What about Article’s 11 and 12? They seem to be ignored when it comes to copyright. Everyone has the right to be presumed innocent, and no one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy or correspondence. Irrelevant to the MPAA, and RIAA, they must be ignored.”

            Fantastic. As long as you don’t cherry pick the rights you like and the rights you don’t.

            “Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.”


          • Again, you’re just proving the point. I’ve never said the industry doesnt have a claim, I’ve said the industry isnt willing to debate.

            And you’e doing exactly the same. Dont be a fucking shill to the industry, and follow the same path, when its clear they are part of the problem.

            You use cherry picking as an argument. Excellent. Where exactly is the debate from the industry not cherry picking for JUST their personal benefit, when the exclude the other parties? You want to voice an opinion, you’re welcome if you agree with them, but excluded or stricken from the record if you disagree. There are plenty of situations showing that. But I digress.

            For the third time, you point out the corporate rights to ownership, without acknowledging the personal rights to privacy. Again, when did that become the acceptable position, where corporate greed outweights personal liberty?

            You keep ignoring that issue – its not cherry picking, its asking why the corporate rights, enacted vaguely through one Article, take priority over very specific Articles, without discussion. I dont have a problem with someone protecting their content. I do have a problem when they try to do so at the expense of other rights. You seem to think they are the same thing.

            Again, the problem is that they arent willing to debate the issue. The only answer is their answer, and thats fascism. Are you happy to live in a fascist society, where the rules are decided by corporations?

            Oh, I shouldnt have said that, you’re going to isolate your answer to the extremeist view of it being fascism…

            *edit* never mind, you’re too blinded to see whats right in front of you. Welcome to the new world, where corporate interests are the only answer, and you’re personal liberties mean jack shit.

            I really dont care what you think any more. You’re not capable of considering theres more to the debate than just what a business thinks is right, and thats sad. So very sad.

            I actually pity you because you cant see what the problem is, and get caught up in such minor semantics. Best of luck in your brave new world.

          • 70+ year copyrights.
            I protest it.

            The best way to protest is to ignore, no one gives two shits if I follow the law, they scream and jump and shout if my protest involves breaking it.

            And you wonder why we wouldn’t take the quiet way.

    • Renai wasn’t charging exorbitant prices utilising out of date business models, either. In fact, if content providers went down the route Renai did – option of cheap ongoing subscription OR a very small fee per item of interest – they might see the downturn in piracy they’re looking for with their big stick approach.

  2. What are the implications of the Foxtel/HBO deal for exclusivity? Isn’t it anti-competitive behaviour? I would have bought GoT fro iTunes to watch on my Apple TV (like I have done for Marvel Agents of SHIELD but I am unable to.
    Isn’t this the real problem? The deal has caused more downloads then just letting us have access to the show on whatever medium we want…
    It’s time the consumer stood up and was accounted for – stuff the distribution company, lets deal directly with the content makers and tell them how WE want to view/use their content and how WE want to pay them for it.

  3. Until On-line distribution in Australia has the same anti-exclusive provisions applied to it by law as do physical video rental stores, piracy is going to be a major issue (for industry, not us).

    Until then, those of us who want to access to good content at fair prices will continue ignoring the expensive and limited local options and use various anti-geoblocking techniques to access Netflix, Hulu etc.

    • In fact, is it about time the ACCC livved up to their mandate rather than protecting vested major interests and shareholders over the common interest.
      Foxtel by it’s actions is very clearly anti competitive as well as being a rapacious rip off artist delivering shoddy products for premium prices, and what we are seeing here is purely and simply cartel action against the public interest.

      But then that is a pipe dream, the ACCC has become a pathetic joke as evidenced by their NBN determinations (121 POI’s), encouraging cherry picking and massive tax payer subsidies to compensate for that cherry picking monopolistic activity

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