Aussie ISP: We Won't Be Hollywood's Copyright Cops If Hollywood Won't Fix Its Own Business Model

from the hollywood,-heal-thyself dept

You may remember iiNet, the Australian ISP that Hollywood attacked (with support of US State Department officials) after they decided that it was too small to fight back, but big enough that people would notice. They guessed incorrectly, and iiNet not only fought back by taking a strong pro-consumer view, but won in convincing fashion. Even more importantly, as we noted, the courts made it clear why it’s silly to expect third party service providers like ISPs to be copyright cops, since establishing infringement “is not a straight ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question,” but rather involves going through a lot of evidence and evaluating it.

Since then, Hollwyood has continued (via the Australian government) to pressure ISPs to step up to become copyright cops anyway, and iiNet has participated in those discussions. But late last week it walked away from the discussions after Hollywood folks kept demanding a system similar to the US’s in which ISPs would send along notices to people they accused of infringement. iiNet gave a bunch of good reasons for walking away, but the basic message was that piracy is a problem that the entertainment industry could solve itself by making all of its content available more conveniently and at better prices. Until it does that, it’s silly to rope in third parties to try to hold back the tide.

A broken record

The conversation has failed to move on. The rights holders are still insisting ISP’s should perform work on their behalf instead of addressing what we have always said is the root cause of the infringements – the limited accessibility to desirable content and the discriminatory and high cost of content in Australia. Infringements are a symptom – access is the problem.

Data retention proposals

iiNet won’t support any scheme that forces ISPs to retain data in order to allow for the tracking of customer behaviour and the status of any alleged infringements against them.

Collecting and retaining additional customer data at this level is inappropriate, expensive and most importantly, not our responsibility.

It’s not iiNet’s job to play online police

We’ve been over this before. The High Court spoke loud and clear in their verdict when they ruled categorically that ISPs have no obligation to protect the rights of third parties, and we’re not prepared to harass our customers when the industry has no clear obligation to do so.

It’s time to find a new way

We believe that timely, affordable access to legitimate content is the best option for reducing unauthorised sharing.

The problem, of course, is that the entertainment industry still doesn’t understand what’s happening. They flat out reject the idea that piracy might be due to their own unwillingness to embrace the internet and provide more content, in more convenient ways at better prices. So, instead, they believe that everyone else should be responsible for fixing the entertainment industry’s own mistakes. It’s nice to see iiNet call them out so directly.

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Companies: iinet

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Comments on “Aussie ISP: We Won't Be Hollywood's Copyright Cops If Hollywood Won't Fix Its Own Business Model”

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Anonymous Coward says:

I flatly reject the ideas that the copyright maximilists present. I honestly don’t care and hope they fail to reach a solution as the results of that will be the cratering of their business model. If I were to find said groups in a wooden barn, I would happily burn it to the ground in hopes that the phoenix that arose would be better than what we have now. (figuratively)

There is a reason piracy exists. It’s the failure of those same pushing copyright insanity that does not match with public expectations. It’s like the old artist touring with the ‘Remember me’? hope for recognition. They’ve made enough racket I don’t want to remember them but when I do, a parallel feeling comes with it; one of hate and resentment.

Robert (profile) says:

Too bad for Canada

Too bad our ISP’s don’t feel the same.

It’s obvious that piracy indicates a demand and the industry has full knowledge of economics and understanding lower the price, to a certain point, will increase sales.

They are not stupid [despite what their behaviour indicates].

This is all about control; the industry wants to eliminate competition. Once they have their full monopolistic control they can jack the prices up again and squeeze the artists even more. The biz-nez section of the entertainment industry really is amazing, they can force two different groups to bend over, as they’ve been doing for decades before the Internet came along.

Jay (profile) says:

Re: Too bad for Canada

The industry doesn’t understand economics. That’s the problem. If they did, they would understand how their own actions only increased piracy.

The artists don’t like being considered economic slaves to their labels. Neither do actors, directors, or DJs like being tied to people that only believe they are entitled to make ever increasing profit in a crony capitalist system.

Economics tells us that if you provide a good service at a decent price, people will support you. Subsidies won’t do much in creating more goods nor does out help our liberal markets flourish. Yet, because these people are in positions of power, with millions in the bank and access to politicians to “convince” them of their plight, they can freely corrupt markets and engage in gunboat diplomacy to force their economic view on the world.

That isn’t a special kind of knowledge or access. It’s stupidity of the highest order and it doesn’t last long when the economics of piracy take over.

azzy says:

Re: Too bad for Canada

Bravo to that last paragraph. The democratising of film is something that’s long overdue and is finally leaving the hands of the elite.

But Canada being Hollywood’s bitch is really no surprise. A lot of productions are moved to Canada for tax breaks bringing in plenty of employment, growth and tourism. It only makes sense that Canada plays nice.

Franklin G Ryzzo (profile) says:


Perhaps we should send the execs for all of the US ISP’s down to Australia and let them talk about this down under for a bit. My guess is that level headed thinking like this stems from the increased blood flow to the head from being upside down…

Cheers to iiNet! It’s refreshing to see a provider push back against the propaganda and so blatantly call them out on their own failures to service their customers. If you ever decide to expand to the states I will absolutely throw my money at you!

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re:

iiNet and our Other ISP’s are not allowed to own major media content, though Telstra does own Foxtel to some extent due to our media ownership laws.. ie: You cannot own newspapers AND TV one or the other!

Though things like FetchTv, BoB, being publicly listed, having ties with New Zealand and other international partnerships don’t in anyones opinion make them a ‘dumb pipe’

Though the major philosophical difference between iiNet (and the majority of Aussie companies) and American counterparts is “Trade practices’, Equity, Customer service, and good old plain common sense.

out_of_the_blue says:

Strictly a commercial matter, Mike.

From the link, emphasis added:

“Allow me to re-state, for the record that iiNet has always maintained that it?s not OK to download or share movies and stuff via peer-to-peer networks, like torrents. As we said after this year?s High Court decision, iiNet does not condone piracy; we just didn?t agree with the studios that it was our job to do their work for them.”

First, Mike, what part of that don’t YOU get? This guy says THAT because any other position is illegal — at least in his position where he could actually be held liable for infringement.

Next: “We?re still holding out for a commercial solution that will work for ISPs, the rights holders and our customers and that improves the supply of legitimate content but it?s clear that this is not going to be the outcome of the current talks.”

Translations from ‘strine (Australian): THEY WANT MONEY TO DO THE POLICING.

A special talent: where the ordinary person would write “adverse publicity” and be understood…
Mike “Streisand Effect” Masnick makes you take a link and spend a minute JUST to learn HIS term!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Strictly a commercial matter, Mike.

“We’ve been over this before. The High Court spoke loud and clear in their verdict when they ruled categorically that ISPs have no obligation to protect the rights of third parties, and we’re not prepared to harass our customers when the industry has no clear obligation to do so.”

What part of the High Court ruled catergorically that ISP’s have no obligation to protect the rights of third parties do you not understand. Could it be that the ISP’s don’t have to protect the rights of the entertainment industries because you so want the ISP’s want to protect the entertainment industries rights. That is not going to happen until the High Court rules otherwise and you are not above the High Court are you.

anon says:

Re: Strictly a commercial matter, Mike.

Sorry , say again, did you not read the article, it said nothing about supporting or not supporting piracy, at the most is said that one of the reasons a very largr part of the population does pirate is that there is no legal reasonably cheap way to access the content that is available all over the internet much cheaper than it is if or when it is available in Australia.

Now when you can learn to read and comprehend what you read, then come back here and write a reasonable comment that we can discuss instead of people like me having to come on here and correct your accusations and who thinks you are nothing more than a troll, trying to get a response from someone famous on this site to make you feel like a big man on the internet.I suspect you and your comment are irrelevant to both the commentors and Mike.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Strictly a commercial matter, Mike.

Translations from ‘strine (Australian): THEY WANT MONEY TO DO THE POLICING.

…and why shouldn’t they ask that those requesting the enforcement not pay for it? I find Hollywood to be highly hypocritical in this area, consistently trying to avoid legitimately paying for a considerable amount of things, including the costs of enforcement of the current laws.

They keep telling us that the infringers are lazy thieves who just want free stuff. The irony is that they want free enforcement and are too lazy to, y’know, provide their content conveniently, cheaply, and at-will.

Donglebert the Needlessly Obtuse says:

Re: Strictly a commercial matter, Mike.

Lovely way you’ve entirely misrepresented the sentiments of what they’ve said. One day, you should learn to read. The day after that, you should learn to comprehend.

We?re still holding out for a commercial solution that will work for ISPs, the rights holders and our customers and that improves the supply of legitimate content but it?s clear that this is not going to be the outcome of the current talks.

Will says:

Let’s examine in minute detail the business practices of the entertainment industry companies going back decades, particularly in regard to copyrights. Of course, that would mean the companies would have to be completely co-operative in opening up all their record books to us, the buying public. Oh, the stories that would be found!

Well done iinet for not succumbing to the octopus and for not being persuaded to engage in breaches of privacy.

bigpallooka (profile) says:

Re: Irony...

Oh the real irony is that the British sent 50000 convicts to North America (that’s a third of the total sent to Australia) long before any arrived in Australia. They were the ones doing the work on plantations that a quarter million African slaves had to do in the century after the American Revolution. We Australians like to say we are descendant from convicts but the truth is most of us are the children of much later immigrants.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Irony...

Way to get it wrong.
I know this is a little off topic but not every Australian is a criminal. Some of us came over here as free settlers.
Ya know, one of the things about being on the Net is you can put down the lube and tissues and now google things so you don’t sound stupid.

Get a clue says:

Re: Irony...

Not every person sent to colonize Australia was a criminal.

And a significant portion of the ‘criminal’ element sent to Australia were for crimes such as stealing bread, being a political dissident, or other ‘crimes’ of a petty nature.

So it’s a standard stereotype, but it’s not entirely accurate. Your ‘irony’ is really just a bigoted display of sheer ignorance on your behalf.

Perhaps you should refrain from commenting where people can read it and keep to your diary in future.

Troy says:

Re: Irony...


Let me guess, clueless American?

Australian was not colonised by criminals. Those criminals are not the basis for our bloodline, you idiot. The overwhelming colonisation of Australia was simply from British and other immigrants.

In fact, some entire states did not even HAVE criminals and were not colonised at all for the purpose of a penal system.

The “Australians are criminals” is called – a misnomer.

anonymouse says:

Business models

The problem is not just that they do not want to put the content up, it is that once they do that they lose the power to intimidate and demand from people. If they supply what people want and piracy goes down they will have no more need for the middlemen, the middlemen will become obsolete. And that is there greatest fear , that they become obsolete,
With everything being complicated, and licences being complicated they can skim a large chunk of the profits, when everything is simple and controlled in one place they lose the ability to hide there theft with there crazy accounting methods.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Look for Steve Dalby’s comments (the lead counsel for iiNet) in this article’s comments about exactly same thing as here.

I myself had a few comments to the whole thing. [though disregard the last ones ;)]

I especially like his response to Daniel

*waves at Steve who I know reads TD and wishes him and Micheal and all the other nutters at iiNet 😉 a brilliant Chrissy!*

Mesonoxian Eve (profile) says:

Over the weekend, I took a spin at’s instant movie section.

Expect piracy to be around for a very long time. Perhaps someone in Hollywood needs to realize something: with no overhead of plastic, paper, and shipping, there’s no way I’m paying those prices to rent.

YouTube and I are going to be very good friends for a long, long time.

Awww… look at the cute kitty going after the fishy.

nfg Dan (user link) says:

Ultra Violet

I was at a seminar (in Melbourne) when a representative from Warner Brothers talked about this.

They decided that it was smarter to make it easier for consumers to purchase content at good prices cross platform. Partly because some of the pirates are still massive consumers with DVD or Blu-ray collections yet download digital copies to take with them on tablets.

Will be interesting to see how Ultraviolet rolls out here down under.

Dave (user link) says:

Criticism for the MPAA and Hollywood

Dear Hollywood,

I want you to know that your attempts to undermine piracy is a complete failure. While you have had the opportunity to recognize what the music industry did you choose to do nothing. You rely on Itunes and netflix and do little to support those options with more content. You limit access from people in other parts of the world too. This is very shortsighted and like the Music industry had to learn to adapt you will also. Have you also considered that with respect to Hollywood the major blockbusters you push are either sequels or remakes of succesful movies? There isn’t sufficient time in-between these to warrant a new movie. It’s time for a moratorium on sequels. Sequels should take 3 years in between or the original movie should be 4 hours long. Same with remakes except you should have to wait 35 years to make one as even in the realm of science fiction the new CGI technology doesn’t warrant a remake of starwars or spiderman. There should be a referendum if a bad movie can be remade. Batman was a great franchise tarnished by the Michael Bay era however Chris Nolans efforts have been redeeming of the capabilities of big studios.
In closing I want to congratulate you for ensuring your failure and one day you will hear of directors and actors doing stories out of their pocket than whatever hollywood is and it will all have been your fault.

Anonymous Coward says:

Here’s an example from my own life. I watch American shows like South Park, Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men. None of these are shown by local TV channels (well, old seasons of Men are shown, but I’ve seen those). I can’t pay for episodes on Netflix or iTunes, because according to them it is unprofitable to offer their services in such a small country. Guess where I download the episodes from.

Anonymous Coward says:

the title says it all, really. why should anyone be expected, at their own expense, not just in paying out terms but also in loss of customer terms as well, to help someone who refuses to help themselves? everyone knows what needs to be done, what has to be done, including the entertainment industries themselves, but they refuse to accept it and act on it. ‘none so blind as those that will not see’, as the saying goes. all that is happening is that many more people and companies are getting to despise the industries and are refusing to bail them out. wake up and smell the coffee, before you are left out on a limb by yourselves!

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