MPAA To Aussies: Obey US Created Copyright Rules! But Don't Even Think About Importing Fair Use

from the we-write-your-laws dept

As reported here back in August, the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) is taking a long, hard look at current copyright laws and has been gathering submissions from a variety of businesses and rights holders in response to 55 copyright-related questions. The submissions have been posted at the ALRC website for public view.

Unsurprisingly, many representatives of legacy industries have responded with suggestions that the status quo be protected and any major or minor modifications of current law in favor of "fair dealing" or "exceptions" be discarded immediately. If any changes have to be made, these industries would prefer that they skew entirely in their direction. For some reason, the MPAA has chimed in, despite the fact that this entity's views on copyright are widely known, thanks to the fact that it never, ever shuts up about it. 

The MPAA's response (RTF) opens up with stating it support of the Australian Film Bodies' views, before gently (but firmly) reminding the ALRC that Australia signed some very skewed and restrictive trade agreements with the US, lest there be any questions about which country's rules it should be following.
While both the Terms of Reference and the “Guiding Principles” make reference to Australia’s copyright law obligations with respect to copyright, it is important to recognize that these are not simply random or uncoordinated requirements with which Australia has agreed to comply. Australia is an active participant in an evolving international dialogue that articulates comprehensive norms and minimum standards for participation in an dynamic global marketplace in works of authorship and other copyright materials... In addition, the copyright and enforcement provisions of the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA) are of particular significance, not only because AUSFTA was, at the time of its adoption, a state-of-the-art pact between Australia and one of its most important trading partners, but also because it has contributed significantly to the template for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement negotiations, in which Australia is now actively engaged along with ten other trading partners around the Pacific Rim.
The MPAA goes on to point out that the "three-step test" for limitations and exceptions to existing copyright law means that no one's going to be creating blanket exemptions for "private use" or "backup copies" which, according to the MPAA "falls well short of compliance with global norms." The MPAA also warns the ALRC to not get any funny ideas about adopting American-style "fair use," something it enjoys using ("MPA members, who, after all, are users as well as creators of copyrighted works, depend upon it in their business and creative operations...") much more than it enjoys being forced to respect it.
The enactment as part of Australian law of a new system based on the fair use doctrine would not bring with it this century and a half of judicial precedent that allows counsel, and the companies and individuals they advise, to rely upon the doctrine. Indeed, at its introduction, the new system would be unsupported by any binding precedent at all.
Hmm. I would imagine our fair use doctrine began without any binding precedent as well, because when things start, it's usually on the ground floor. Then there's this bit of hypocrisy, considering the MPAA spent a couple of paragraphs reminding the ALRC that it was subject to trade agreements composed by the USTR, an American entity.
Since it is inconceivable that, as part of any new system of copyright exceptions in Australia, its courts would be directed to slavishly follow U.S. precedent, it is inescapable that there would be considerable uncertainty about the resolution of claims based on the new system in Australian courts. This is likely to create a deleterious level of unpredictability for copyright owners, copyright users, and the public. Whatever social benefits might fairly be attributed to the fair use doctrine under U.S. law would be unlikely to survive the passage across the Pacific to Australia
"Inconceivable." The MPAA keeps using that word. I do not think it means what it thinks it means. The MPAA has clearly pushed for Australia, along with many other countries, to follow US precedent when it comes to copyright length, restrictions and enforcement. Those negative aspects seem to "survive the passage" without any deleterious effects. But somehow, "fair use" just can't make the trip unscathed.

Judging by the followup paragraph, it looks like the only reason fair use couldn't make its way across the ocean is because the MPAA would have its boat scuttled and its crew tossed overboard to be eaten by shrieking eels. Here's the MPAA's real fear: someone might get something for free!
An additional uncertainty involves the impact of a change in Australian law on existing licensing agreements. Since the likely purpose, and even more likely a result, of borrowing from fair use to amend Australian law would be to expand, at least to some degree, the scope and applicability of exceptions to copyright protection, it is almost inevitable that some licensees would be compelled to re-examine whether they any longer needed to obtain a license for particular uses, or whether they could instead rely upon the expanded exception resulting from the new fair use provision. 
The MPAA states that any new exemptions would "destabilize settled markets for the licensing of copyrighted material." Good old MPAA. It loves "settled markets." The IP world has been changing very quickly over the last 15 years, but the MPAA's ongoing response is determined stasis, making it look for all the world like a plate spinner who's down to his last plate, but is spinning the HELL out of it, all the while yelling "NOBODY TOUCH ANYTHING!" 


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2012 @ 12:09pm

    One word describes their attitude:-
    Totaltarian
    As it is the only way they can protect their copyrights against any use by anybody else.

     

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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Dec 6th, 2012 @ 12:26pm

    Not clever enough sneering to sell me.

    Nor is this worth the read: "MPAA would have its boat scuttled and its crew tossed overboard to be eaten by shrieking eels." -- Do eels shriek? Even freshwater eels used to living near the surface? Somebody Google for that: it's obviously a key point that might support this Tim's views. -- Even if so, it's a silly image, and if you wish the rest to be taken seriously -- well, I ain't here to teach Ritin' 101.

    It's just that without a few clever quips, you end up with near boiler-plate text of your "side", no surprises here.

     

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    •  
      icon
      Shadow Dragon (profile), Dec 6th, 2012 @ 12:30pm

      Do You have a life?

      If you don't reply to me,OOTB.Tgen I guess you don't have one.

       

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      •  
        icon
        Cory of PC (profile), Dec 6th, 2012 @ 1:03pm

        Re: Do You have a life?

        And this is just responding to your Subject:

        He kinda does, but not in the way we see it: sitting in front of his computer, hitting that refresh button for a new article to appear, clicking on the comment button and typing in his way of saying "FIRST!" But then there's the time he does sit through and read it, only to take

        So while he does have a "life," he really doesn't have a real life. I tried telling him to get one, but I guess he's too busy sitting in front of his computer. Either that or he's glued to his seat and can't get out of it and the chair's bolted to the floor.

         

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        •  
          identicon
          MVax, Dec 6th, 2012 @ 1:06pm

          Re: Re: Do You have a life?

          He doesn't need a life. He needs a therapist or a parent to take his computer access away.

           

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          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2012 @ 5:46pm

            Re: Re: Re: Do You have a life?

            I think it's important to state that OOTB needs someone to take away his corporate-provided computer, since he's clearly against corporations.

             

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2012 @ 12:33pm

      Re: Not clever enough sneering to sell me.

      the joke

      your head

       

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    •  
      identicon
      PRMan, Dec 6th, 2012 @ 1:30pm

      Re: Not clever enough sneering to sell me.

      You wouldn't get the reference. It's from an independent film, one of the best comedies of all time that you apparently have never seen.

       

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      •  
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        Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Dec 6th, 2012 @ 1:56pm

        Re: Re: Not clever enough sneering to sell me.

        Also one of the finest swordfights filmed. It seems OotB fell victim to one of the classic blunders...

         

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        •  
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          That One Guy (profile), Dec 6th, 2012 @ 3:47pm

          Re: Re: Re: Not clever enough sneering to sell me.

          The most famous, is never get involved in a land war in asia, but only slightly less well known is this: never go in against the MPAA, when profits are on the line!

          AHAHAHAHA, HAHAHA, HAHA-

          *Thud*

           

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          •  
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            Niall (profile), Dec 7th, 2012 @ 5:12am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Not clever enough sneering to sell me.

            So let's see, the there's an ongoing land war in asia (could you also stretch Mesopotamia?)... so the US (and its poodles) seem to like 'classic blunders'...

             

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      •  
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        ltlw0lf (profile), Dec 6th, 2012 @ 2:09pm

        Re: Re: Not clever enough sneering to sell me.

        You wouldn't get the reference. It's from an independent film, one of the best comedies of all time that you apparently have never seen.

        Second!

        "Back, or I'll call the brute squad!"
        "I'm on the brute squad."
        "You are the brute squad."

        I'd go as far to say it is the yardstick that all other comedies measure themselves to.

         

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          Baldaur Regis (profile), Dec 6th, 2012 @ 2:35pm

          Re: Re: Re: Not clever enough sneering to sell me.

          "brute squad" lol. God, that takes me back. My dad had it on Betamax, we had to switch out tapes at the hour mark.

           

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2012 @ 12:39pm

    MPAA really needs to die already.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2012 @ 12:39pm

    The MPAA acts like treaties can't be rescinded.

    Given that everything that comes to Aussie land is either delayed nearly a year, doesn't make it to their market at all, terminates before the series ends, or is priced nearly 1 1/2 times what those in the states would pay, even though their dollars is worth more than ours, maybe it would be better to rescind the treaty.

    I wouldn't even bother to address ootb's posts, he states that most of the time he neither reads the article nor the comments so commenting on his posts is a wasted effort. Instead, hit the report button and move on.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2012 @ 12:57pm

    the best thing for Australia to do is tell the USA in it's entirity, entertainment industries and all, to fuck off! there is no way any country, under any circumstances, should be dictating to another coujntry what it can or cant do or what it should or shouldn't do! Australia isn't going to gain anything at all from protecting the industries of somewhere else and you can bet a pound to a pinch of shit that the USA in general and entertainment industries in particular do not and will not ever give a toss as far as protecting anything, anywhere other than in the US. if the situation were reversed, the US would be telling Australia in no uncertain terms to fuck off!!

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2012 @ 12:58pm

    the best thing for Australia to do is tell the USA in it's entirity, entertainment industries and all, to fuck off! there is no way any country, under any circumstances, should be dictating to another coujntry what it can or cant do or what it should or shouldn't do! Australia isn't going to gain anything at all from protecting the industries of somewhere else and you can bet a pound to a pinch of shit that the USA in general and entertainment industries in particular do not and will not ever give a toss as far as protecting anything, anywhere other than in the US. if the situation were reversed, the US would be telling Australia in no uncertain terms to fuck off!!

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2012 @ 6:53pm

      Re:

      100% agree, unfortunately our country is well known for being the US's bitch, so our polititians are way more likely to give what the MPAA ask for.
      Keep in mind we're talking about a government that has been holding Secret Meetings with the content industry and effectively refusing to give any information about the goings on...

      It's a scary sight when the only party talking sense is the Greens (the Australian Green party have a long history of being f-ing nuts)

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2012 @ 1:02pm

    Unfortunately Steve Jobs took the reality-distortion-field secret to his grave.

     

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  •  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Dec 6th, 2012 @ 1:24pm

    Dear Austrailia...

    Do not listen to the idiots that are coming from the United States to tell you what to do.

    We'd like to get rid of them ourselves, but it's hard to do when they can buy up government protection.

     

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      gorehound (profile), Dec 6th, 2012 @ 2:05pm

      Re: Dear Austrailia...

      Many of us US Citizens hate our government and hate all MAFIAA.We are very sorry and we do like Australians.
      Money and Power are our big Enemies and they are not easy to fight.
      A Global Effort will be needed in order to get as much Dirty Laundry as possible to Air out for the World to see.
      Who knows maybe the Truth Will Set Us Free.

       

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    •  
      identicon
      pyro, Dec 6th, 2012 @ 3:07pm

      Re: Dear Austrailia...

      Unfortunately, we (the people) don't get a look in. All of this kind of stuff is acted upon without so much as a news headline in ANY newspaper. Once something has been made law/treaty/whatever, that's it. It's here for good.

      I swear that Australia must be the easiest place in the world to pass laws. They could invent a law tomorrow that said, "All people with names starting with B must be thrown in jail." Sighting that they're 10 times more likely to commit an "offence" and even the people with names starting with B would go, "I'm sure that's based on sound statistics and logic. Seems legit."

      Take our stupid hoon laws for example. Created to fix a problem that doesn't exist.

       

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        Baldaur Regis (profile), Dec 6th, 2012 @ 3:16pm

        Re: Re: Dear Austrailia...

        I, for one, say Thank God for our strict hoon laws. Little fuckers were shitting all over my back porch.

         

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      •  
        identicon
        Old Man in The Sea, Dec 6th, 2012 @ 10:37pm

        Re: Re: Dear Austrailia...

        Our pollies and public servants tend to look at infrastructure problems as needing enforcement fixes (new laws and fines). Just remember that the IQ of our parliaments are in inverse proportion to the number of pollies we have.

        Most of them are from a legal background. Any of them that have an engineering or science background tend to be ignored by the rest as not being intelligent enough (this is irrespective of what party they may belong to) to be able to discuss the legal implications of any infrastructure problem.

        Either that or they are just big mouth liars, bullies or back stabbers, case in point being the former PMs RM, GW, B(R)H, and PK.

        Hoons don't care anyway, to fix those kinds of problems one needs to fix the individual, whether they be hoons, druggies, drunks or just-dont-cares.

        To fix an individual requires the individual to actually care about what he/she is doing and when it boils down to it, what would make such individuals care is really unknown.

         

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2012 @ 1:39pm

    And let me guess what happens next: darryl, being the Australian that he is, pops over to scream how none of us are copyright experts, we need all our heads examined and he is PROUD PROUD PROUD of how restricted and gypped his country is when it comes to media.

    Ladies and gentlemen, I present you the thought process of an unimaginative shitstain.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Old Man in The Sea, Dec 6th, 2012 @ 10:20pm

      Re:

      Who said anything about him being an aussie? We have enough people we really need to send back to where they came from because they don't want to be Australian.

      Many years ago, a true blue said, "Me Aussie, Me proud, I come here to be free, send them back those who don't want to be free from hatred and prejudices of their old lands."

      Why would we want to claim him as one of our own?

       

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        Niall (profile), Dec 7th, 2012 @ 5:15am

        Re: Re:

        Because I'm pretty sure he said somewhere that he was Australian. Sorry.

        Actually, no, I'm not. That's one you can't blame on us 'poms'. :)

         

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        G Thompson (profile), Dec 7th, 2012 @ 7:40am

        Re: Re:

        Sad to say that by all accounts he's Aussie.. though basically a few sheep short in the paddock department!

        Oh and allegedly works in Canberra... need I say more

        Oh and for all those that work In Canberra, I am sorry! o_O

         

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  •  
    identicon
    temoi, Dec 6th, 2012 @ 2:37pm

    temoi to MPAA......fuck you, I'm gonna keep pirating til the day I die.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    davnel, Dec 6th, 2012 @ 2:37pm

    Relax, folks. This is a self-limiting problem. Technology and innovation march on, DESPITE the MAFIAA or any other group. Eventually the old-guard will die off, the young blood will take over, the technology will advance to the point that none of their machnations will have any effect. In the mean time, it may get a little more rough, but only for a very limited time.

     

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      John Fenderson (profile), Dec 6th, 2012 @ 3:05pm

      Re:

      Eventually the old-guard will die off, the young blood will take over


      True. And if history is any guide, then the young blood will become the old guard and will be just as oppressive as the old old guard was, but with a different style.

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2012 @ 4:24pm

      Re:

      but only for a very limited time.

      But won't they want to extend it to, say, life + 75 years?

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2012 @ 7:41pm

      Re:

      The old guard has died off before, many times...where do you think this old guard came from?

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2012 @ 4:05pm

    The first paragraph also sounds like pass-aggressive threatening of Australia's government that they need to "stick with the crowd", and basically what US tells them, "or else...bad things might happen...if you know what I'm saying".

     

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  •  
    identicon
    IronM@sk, Dec 6th, 2012 @ 5:12pm

    Revoking the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA)

    I am one Australian who would be happy to see the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA) annulled like a bad marriage.

    What benefits have I seen the AUSFTA provide? Here's a couple of quick examples:

    1) Logitech Z-5500 speakers on the Logitech (US) site at the time I purchased mine - $399 RRP. Price on the Logitech (AU) site? $799 RRP

    2) Almost everything on Steam is jacked up for Aussies.

    3) USPS: Even when a bargain can be found, by means of ebay or Amazon, the cost of shipping said item to Aus seems arbitrarily inflated.

    I once bought some items from a UK eBay store, which cost me $5 shipping. The same item in a US eBay store? $35 shipping.

    Fuck the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement. Everything I want can be obtained cheaper in the UK or China.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2012 @ 7:25pm

      Re: Revoking the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA)

      We definitely get screwed.

      Take Visual Studio Ultimate for instance:
      US: 13,299 USD
      AUS: 19,274 AUD (20190 USD)

      And that's for a digital download, no shipping involved.

       

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2012 @ 8:29pm

        Re: Re: Revoking the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA)

        I'm pretty sure there's a torrent for that!

         

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      G Thompson (profile), Dec 7th, 2012 @ 12:28am

      Re: Revoking the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA)

      The FTA is basically looked at like any other bit of dunny (toilet) paper - good for removing shit but weak and easily dismissed.

      The MPAA response tot the ALRC has been met with resounding hilarity by everyone who has read it, and the bit about back-ups is even more hilarious since we currently under the Copyright Act as it stands already have the ability to create backups for personal purposes

      If you noticed Today Tonight (and I gather A Current Affair will soon) had a segment on infringing CD's last night. This was basically a huge gab fest by Neil Gain of AFACT (ie: the MPAA) and had ominous warnings how police suspect terrorism is sponsored by the sale of the DVD's (they raided a DVD shop in ChinaTown - Sydney that has been operating in full view knowingly by all concerned for over 18months)

      That segment is the first part of a campaign by AFACT and the MPAA etc to try to stop what the ALRC is trying to do with our copyright reforms. Next you will see all about how Big Pharma is doing it bad, etc etc, yada yada..

      The MPAA has basically no clout anymore within Australia's political circles after their fiasco with iiNet and the whole of their response is petulant and bullying - ie: They are scared silly! Especially after what is happening in Canada and in NZ over copyright and court cases.

       

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 7th, 2012 @ 12:46am

    I'd gladly trade all my movies, music, books, proprietary software and video games... if that's what it takes for a free internet. I'd still have GNU/Linux and the entire knowledge of the internet. Sounds like a a good deal.

     

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    techflaws (profile), Dec 7th, 2012 @ 4:33am

    Good old MPAA. It loves "settled markets."

    RTF, need I say more?

     

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