Australia is thirsty for Game Of Thrones torrents and the government still have no idea what to do about it.
Attorney General George Brandis and Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull have yet to come up with a solid stance on the nation’s piracy problem, and are still squabbling over whether copyright holders or internet service providers should bear the brunt. Meanwhile, ISPs and copyright holders find themselves locked in a very similar quarrel.
The Sydney Morning Herald report that, in a recent submission to the federal government, a number of the country’s major internet service providers have stepped into the debate, signalling that they are open to more aggressive methods of tackling piracy, including blocking access to foreign sites that host links to pirated content.
The government have said that, in future, copyright holders may be able to seek court orders requiring ISPs to block access to websites that host pirated content. The Communications Alliance, representing Australia’s major ISPs, said that this plan may “play a useful role” in safeguarding copyright, although it might lead to “collateral damage” in which legitimate sites are blocked.
One recent proposal suggested a “three strikes” scheme, in which internet users who download illicit content receive three warnings, after which, they are punished. The Alliance’s submission indicted that the likes of Telstra, Optus, iiNet and Vodafone are open to trying such a “three strikes” scheme, although are reluctant to threaten customers with slower speeds or cut off their service.
Some copyright holders have suggested that ISPs should pay up to half the bill for future anti-piracy schemes, but the Communications Alliance are strongly against this. “The bottom line is that consumer rights should be protected and that law-abiding internet users should not have to pay the cost of doing Hollywood’s police work for it,” said its chief executive John Stanton.
In a separate submission to the government, distributors Village Roadshow likened pirates to terrorists and pedophiles, saying that there is no place for them on the internet, although as someone who just shelled out 36 bucks for two tickets to a highly underwhelming Cameron Diaz movie, I can sort of see where the pirates are coming from.
There is no end in sight to the negotiations, although don’t worry, Rupert Murdoch‘s conveniently-timed Foxtel/broadband bundles will soon be here to dominate Australia’s internet market and make all these questions obsolete.