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Last Friday news website Crikey! reported on the federal government’s leaked draft discussion paper on tackling online copyright infringement.

The paper has two main policy proposals. The first is to make it easier for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to be held liable for authorising copyright infringement, making them more responsible for policing the activity of their customers.

The main goal of this policy is to reverse aspects of the decision of the high-profile iiNet case, which ruled that ISPs are generally not liable when consumers use their services to illegally download content such as movies or TV shows. 

The second policy proposal is to enable rights holders such as the movie studios to get a court order which would force all ISPs to block access to a particular website whose 'dominant purpose' is to infringe copyright. An obvious target for such applications would be the Pirate Bay website.

The discussion paper goes on to say that the government does not wish to receive submissions on issues covered by the IT Pricing Inquiry. That Inquiry showed that price discrimination means Australians pay around 50 per cent more than US consumers for software and other digital products like games and music.

The federal government is seeking responses to the questions set out in the discussion paper by Monday 25 August. In formulating our submission, ACCAN will be canvassing our members and stakeholders for their views on these issues. We welcome your views via email to Jonathan Gadir, Senior Advisor – Policy & Research (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Online copyright infringement also forms the basis of a key session at our upcoming National Conference. Register now to secure your seat for what promises to be an animated debate.