Australian ISP: Negotiating With Hollywood Over Copyright Is Like Talking To A Brick Wall

from the indeed dept

We just mentioned the charade happening down in Australia, where the entertainment industry, the government and some ISPs are meeting in total secrecy to try to hash out a “voluntary” plan to deal with online infringement. Of course, not only won’t any agreement work, the whole process is stupid. Thankfully, at least one ISP is publicly speaking out about this: iiNet.

Of course, to some extent, iiNet is “responsible” for these meetings happening at all. If you don’t recall, iiNet was chosen carefully by a Hollywood-run front group in Australia called AFACT — the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft — because the Hollywood studios thought that it was big enough to matter, but too small to actually fight back. They miscalculated. iiNet fought back (strongly) and won easily at multiple levels, leading to a nice precedent on the books that Hollywood hates. Of course, part of that ruling more or less said that iiNet had no responsibility to do anything under existing law. So now that’s resulted in these meetings, in which the government hopes “an agreement” is reached, but where it also gets to suggest that if the ISPs don’t appease Hollywood, regulations might be put in place.

iiNet, being at the center of all this, finds the entire thing ridiculous and is not shy about stating how it really feels, saying that negotiating with Hollywood is like talking to a brick wall. The blog post from iiNet covers a lot of ground that we’ve covered here for years, but it’s nice to see an ISP speak out so publicly and so strongly on these points. First off, it covers the real problem: there’s real consumer demand, but the industry sucks at meeting it. It also debunks the “can’t compete with free” trope, yet again.

AFACT and other rights holder bodies don’t care much for consumers. As you may have read, Neil Gane of AFACT thinks consumers are “unreasonable” to tell their suppliers of entertainment what they want. Actually, AFACT don’t have any customers in Australia, they are all in California, which unfortunately means that consumer pressure is unlikely to have much impact on their strategies.

iiNet have suggested that they focus on what the market is demanding, but it’s a waste of breath. Their masters have set the agenda and rights holders will only do their bidding.

Gane has made repeated calls for legislative change over time and that’s where AFACT’s future efforts will focus on, not taking into account consumer demands. The attorney general’s departmental forum is not designed to contribute to such legislative change and so I’m not expecting the process to generate any satisfaction for consumers or distributors.

Listening to actual consumers would be tremendously helpful, but the inability of the entertainment industry to do exactly that is a big part of the reason they’re in this mess today in the first place.

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Companies: afact, iinet

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Comments on “Australian ISP: Negotiating With Hollywood Over Copyright Is Like Talking To A Brick Wall”

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Cory of PC (profile) says:

A brick wall? Considering the way Hollywood’s behaving… I would take a guess it’s more like the Berlin Wall or the Great Wall of China.

Personally I’ll go with the latter in that the Great Wall of China is too high, too long, and WAY TOO STRONG to take down. Well… by normal people’s means, but who’s to say it can’t be taken down? (Hollywood, obviously)

Mike C. (profile) says:


And this is the real problem of “Hollywood’s” approach to copyright. They build a “Great Wall” to try to lock everything up and all it takes is someone figuring out how to go around the wall for it to be completely ineffective.

Still kinda fun to watch them flail about helplessly. It’s kind of like a slinky – not much use, but fun to watch when you push it down the stairs.

Anonymous Coward says:

‘the inability of the entertainment industry to do exactly that is a big part of the reason they’re in this mess today’

couple that with the fact that politicians are more concerned with lining their own pockets with ‘incentives’ handed out by those industries in return for expanding existing laws and bringing in new laws rather than actually doing the job they were entrusted to do, ie, looking after the people. all the while these new laws are being drafted, there is no representation for the people either with only these industries and big businesses allowed to know what’s going on, give input and actually influence these laws. what a disgraceful way for any government, particularly in supposed democratic societies, to behave!! any and every time the entertainment industries say they want to start negotiations, what the really mean is they want their demands to be met and implemented by anyone and everyone, at no expense to those industries and without any concern for the impact on those other businesses or the people. they have absolutely no intention whatsoever of negotiating with anyone else and the majority of the World’s governments are backing them up. why is this damn industry the most important thing in the World? so important that it has greater punishments than some ‘proper’ crimes. unbelievable!!

RD says:


“couple that with the fact that politicians are more concerned with lining their own pockets with ‘incentives’ handed out by those industries in return for expanding existing laws and bringing in new laws rather than actually doing the job they were entrusted to do, ie, looking after the people.”

But they are. Don’t forget, corporations are people now too. And unlike people-people, they have money.

You need never question who our politicians work for ever again.

Vox Humana says:

Again: Why try to save an old-fashioned industry with a death wish?

Boycott hollwood and let them continue committing suicide. That’s clearly what they want. Please stop wasting your energy wasting and our time with them.

Let’s ignore them and get on with the modern age. That’s how it works.

Look: the bad smell won’t last forever after they’ve killed themselves and the sooner hollywood dies, the better. They’re already dead in my books.

Richard (profile) says:


They build a “Great Wall” to try to lock everything up and all it takes is someone figuring out how to go around the wall for it to be completely ineffective.

Sounds more like the Maginot Line to me!

Note the Wikipedia entry contains the following

the Maginot Line is used to recall a strategy or object that people hope will prove effective but instead fails miserably.

RD says:


“If Hollywood sues ISPs over delivery of pirated content, why doesn’t Pharma sue UPS?”

Because UPS is a “person” and contributes campaign contributions. “The Internet” is just the faceless masses and is de fecto evil because its digital, technological, and allows people to communicate outside of the approved/controlled channels of the govt/media.

Funny, isn’t it, how every time they want to push their agenda, the argument is “you wouldn’t steal a car, would you?” and conflate physical with digital goods, yet when it comes to an example like yours, suddenly there is a sharp, significant and absolute divide between real-world and internet-world constructs.

Robert Doyle (profile) says:

I finally get it

It finally dawned on me what the rights’ holders are doing. By not giving the customer what they want like the auto industry did they are setting themselves up for a huge bailout in the great entertainment crash of 2015!

Movies and music will come out that year and the entertainment bubble that exists (where we think the crap is better than it really is but then reality sets in and we understand it is valueless tripe) will pop covering us all with the puss of Hollywood’s festering dogma.

Then the governments around the world will need to bail out Hollywood. And what a payout it will be with Hollywood accounting. The US will call off spending trillions on military upkeep to prop up the entertainment industry because without them 3 Americas worth of people will be unemployed.

Then the terrorists will win.

Chargone (profile) says:

facebook hates this article

or possibly the comments, i don’t know. attempting to share it on facebook produced this message, however:

“The content you’re trying to share includes a link that’s been blocked for being spammy or unsafe:

now, unless that’s a kiddy-porn site or contains some vicious attack code, i don’t see what business facebook has blocking it, and even if that is the case, i’m not entirely sure what business it has blocking a link to this article, but there you go.

DanZee (profile) says:

Typical tactic

This is a typical tactic that media companies have been using for decades. When they don’t get what they want, they just keep hammering away trying to find a loophole or keep lobbying Congress to change the laws. A copyright expert has pointed out there’s been something like 22 changes to copyright law over the past 40 years and the media industries still say they need more protection. It should also be pointed out that as a whole, media is raking more money than ever. Any losses individual companies experience are usually due to mismanagement and bad decisions.

Michael says:


Well, they (Hollywood) refuse to negotiate because they’ve been given a free pass for so long that they’ve become accustomed to talking down on others. Therefore it’s up to the people to speak up and demand that their power-grabbing cease. They do not own the internet nor the technology which makes it run yet continually act as if they have some inherent right to impose their will over it. Their sense of entitlement is suffocating the free market.

Anonymous Coward says:

Typical tactic

From what I have heard, the real reasoning from politicians is based around jobs: “if we loose the entertainment industry we will loose “insert ridiculous number” of jobs. We can never let that happen. Piracy is extremely important to stop to avoid loosing jobs in the entertainment industry – d be any other industry.”
It is all about that argumentation. If you could claim that the tech industry will only grow in the USA and that the measures against copyright is hurting it, we are all far safer from gullible politicians. Untill then, the ego of the entertainment industry is very imaginatively made to be several times its real size.

Austronymous Coward says:


Simple, taser them (so they can’t escape like the little baby men (Thanks Heavy Weapons guy! :P) they are), duct tape them to rolling office chairs then give them a running start and watch as their titanium-plated skulls open the window FOR you!

Or just use an air cannon powered by pressurised nitrogen (say, around, 1500 PSI, mebbe?) to launch a lump of metal such as a cannonball to open the windows.

Your choice! 😀

Brent (profile) says:

so i get that these meetings are even happening b/c they ISP leaders believe gov’t regulations will be put into place if they don’t do it themselves. But what i don’t get is why the Australian gov’t gives a crap what Hollywood thinks.. Has Hollywood threatened to stop selling DVDs, CDs allowing their movies to be shown anywhere on the continent? I find it hard to believe that anyone would actually believe that threat but its the only ‘legitimate’ reason i can imagine the gov’t would even implement any regulations.. someone plz enlighten me.

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