Telstra, Internode tentatively back iiNet’s piracy authority


update Several of Australia’s major internet service providers have cautiously indicated support for a proposal unveiled by iiNet last week to set up an independent authority to administer allegations of copyright infringement by internet users.

iiNet’s vision would see an authority set up to manage the increasingly fractious relationship between ISPs, their customers and film, music and television studios. The authority would not focus on disconnecting users from the internet following infringements as some other countries are, but would have the power to issue fines and demerits to those who had purloined television shows, films and music online.

The move comes weeks after the conclusion of an appeal in the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft’s two-year long court case raised against the ISP and won by iiNet — pending an expected second appeal to the High Court.

Most of the industry is remaining quiet on the issue, but several spokespeople did reveal a view this week — such as John Lindsay, Internode’s general manager of regulatory and corporate affairs. “Internode supports the model that iiNet is proposing and will continue to work with rights holders to promote legal content like FetchTV, iTunes and ABC iView to its subscribers,” Lindsay said.

An Optus spokesperson said the telco would to review this proposal in more detail before making any further comment. “However we do welcome proposals like this that try to address this important issue in a collaborative way,” they added. A Telstra spokesperson didn’t go into detail, but did note the telco supported the view put forward by telco representative body the Communications Alliance last week that iiNet’s proposal should be investigated further.

Last week, Communications Alliance chief executive John Stanton said the group and some of the nation’s largest ISPs had been meeting with “leading content owners” in recent weeks to explore whether an industry-led solution could be found to the “complex set of issues” around copyright infringement.

“We want to continue that dialogue and broaden the discussion to include other stakeholders to help address copyright concerns and foster greater access for Australian consumers to legitimate and commercially available online content”,” said Stanton in a statement last week, noting the model proposed by iiNet represented “a potential solution that warranted further study”.

“Whatever the solution, we believe it will be more robust and sustainable if it flows from a shared desire from content owners and ISPs to agree arrangements that benefit consumers and all sides of the industry,” he said.

If a solution was to be found to the issue, it would likely require the involvement of the Federal Government. A spokesperson for Communications Minister Stephen Conroy wasn’t available this afternoon to comment on the issue, but Conroy himself has previously stated that the industry was awaiting the result of the iiNet trial versus AFACT.

Image credit: Henning Buchholz, royalty free


  1. Whatever they come up with, wont be enough for AFACT in the long term. At the end of the day, pirated media is sourced from so many places that you just *cant* police it. The most obvious dens of illegal material will get closed down; or monitored (and users of the system will get caught). but the other 9 out of 10 pirates will keep on pirating.
    The fact is, the free to air television training we were given by the media has led people to expect entertainment for free. (or their perception is it is free, I don’t want to get into an argument about advertising).

    If anything, they should be releasing these shows themselves locally, with ads, on the internet, for free. Instead they like their upfront payment model, that locks down licensing by region and leaves consumers without the shows they want (when they can’t sell the show to a local content provider) or with a delayed show (because a local content provider wanted to wait and see ratings in other regions before committing).

    The internet is here now, and it costs (relatively) little to publish to it. Why aren’t they doing it?

  2. If free to air TV was not 1960 repeats and pay TV had more competition than over priced Foxtel.
    Of course people wouldn’t pirate as much.
    Why do websites like ect block Australias from watching? Does that not encourage piracy?

    Reason why people pirate is because they are sick of being shitted on.
    Example; Why can I import the latest computer game from the UK for $45 delivered to my door when they sell it here in the local shop for $90?

    There is no justification for pirating, but Australians are so sick of being treated like idiots but big corporations!

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