Australians Get Their Own SOPA; Attorney General Doesn't Even Bother To See If His Censorship Regime Is Technically Feasible

from the details,-details dept

Back in December, we noted that it appeared that Australia was about to get its own SOPA, and that appears to now be happening. The Australian press is reporting that Attorney General George Brandis is ready to introduce site blocking legislation that mimics SOPA almost directly, in that it would force ISPs to block access to foreign websites, based on claims that those websites facilitated copyright infringement. This was the key part of SOPA, which was rejected, in part, because it would lead to serious concerns about the way in which the underlying internet functioned. Forcing ISPs to block entire sites breaks some fundamental principles of the internet. So, you would think that perhaps the geniuses behind Australia’s plan would at least talk to internet providers first before moving forward with this plan, right? Well, you’d be wrong:

John Stanton, CEO of telco industry body the Communications Alliance, said it was “disappointing” that the industry had not been consulted on the bill prior to its impending introduction.

The bill is coming from Australian Attorney General George Brandis, who has been pushing for exactly this for quite some time, after only listening to the entertainment industry voices, and refusing to discuss the issue with consumer advocates, or those who understand the pointlessness and danger of full site blocking. Brandis also has ignored the careful, and detailed, process that the Australia Law Reform Commission went through investigating copyright reform, in which it proposed a number of ways to modernize Australia’s copyright system. Instead, Brandis is just focused on giving Hollywood what it wants, with apparently no consideration for what that means for the public or the internet.

Of course, we all know what happened when the US Congress tried to rush through SOPA. It will be interesting to see how Australians react to a similar proposal, pushed by a politician who has made it pretty clear that the technical details of the internet laws he pushes are not that important to him, just so long as he can pretend that he’s being “tough” on criminals.

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Comments on “Australians Get Their Own SOPA; Attorney General Doesn't Even Bother To See If His Censorship Regime Is Technically Feasible”

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Daniel (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Exactly what is your dysfunction? Just heckling or do you honestly want to know how it will break the internet? Waving a flag screaming “I’m ignorant!” like a flamer at a pride parade and blaming Mike, or anyone else, for it in the process just makes you look foolish. If you honestly want to know: for ISP’s to block sites, it would require them to hijack the traffic between users and DNS servers, altering the response or negating the request all together. In layman’s terms, they would be “hacking” the data stream between your computer and various core service providers on the internet.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re: What Masnick means by "break" is "prevent piracy".

Piracy, spying, and scams are among [the] basics of life. We go to great lengths teaching our children how to handle this. It’s no surprise it’s on the net as well. Then again, the net’s not all piracy, spying and scams or we wouldn’t be here. Some argue copyright infringement is theft, others boycott it all, others resign themselves to blank media levies over which they’ve no control.


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Seriously, though, have you ever considered explaining exactly how SOPA will “break the Internet”? Do you even understand what you mean when you say it? I sincerely doubt it. Substance is not your thing. Prove me wrong?

Mike explained this years ago in many many posts when SOPA was happening. Here’s one. Next time, do your own homework:

Seegras (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

It’s actually quite simple:

Works you have a copyright in get published on the internet without your consent?

Send a mail to the ISP, he’ll tell the culprit who will either a) remove it or b) not.

About 90% of the people that actually really do illegal publishing will take it down immediately.

For the rest, open a civil suit. The content will vanish very fast, UNLESS your claim of copyright is bogus.

Problem solved.

You can even streamline this by DEMANDING copyright does not last beyond the death of the artist, and any “orphan” works are immediately turned into public domain. Because then, a lot of the insecurity about whose work it might be and who might be the copyright holder vanishes, leading to a much more clear-cut copyright and to people giving more respect to copyright.

Nothing new, was already said in 1841.

wotnotnow says:

Re: George Brandis and why he is doing this

Firstly, George Brandis is a QC (Queen’s Counsel). This position is the highest position that one may obtain as a practising barrister (appearing before the courts in Australia).

In general, anyone who achieves this position considers themselves above anyone else and free to do whatever they like because of their intimate knowledge of the law. In practise, the general rule to follow in dealing with such people is to NOT do any business with them. The general opinion about QC’s is that they are the basest people you can meet and that it is better to do business with used car salesmen and criminals than with QC’s. QC’s tend to be considered as the quintessential nasty crook.

So as George Brandis is a QC, one can only expect the worst possible behaviour and outcomes from him. I do not personally know the man but by all the evidence put before me, I would have to say, in my opinion (which is actually meaningless under law in Australia), that he is not a man to be trusted under any circumstance when it come to creating any legislation at the National Level.

I have seen some of his correspondence and he is not even able to deal with his own party members in a respectful manner, let alone anyone who is a member of the citizenry of Australia.

The only conclusion that one can validly get to by looking at his actions is that he is a “fully bought and paid for” politician (bought and paid for by foreign interests – not even Australian interests).

I am a conservative and I am personally appalled at the behaviour of the current front bench of the governmental party/coalition at this time. I don’t expect any proper behaviour from the current opposition parties even though I have diehard supporters for those parties in my family. But at the moment, there are a number of people in parliament who general policies I abhor who are making more intelligent suggestions than the current governmental front bench.

Even though there are some decent representatives to be found across the full range of parties here (at both Federal and State levels), there seems to be a dearth at the leadership levels in any party. All the leadership (as well as many of the backbenchers) across all of the parties (of which we have a much larger range than you have in the USA) seem to be touched with an infantile and corrupt mindset.

The general policies of all parties as found in the various Australia Federal and State legislatures is one of “Screw You to the Citizens”, we’ll only help our buddies.

Why all the above? Well, I am sure that there is plenty of dirt to be found on George Brandis. It is simply a matter of getting it and publishing this information. However, as with everything like this, all it will do is make a big legal burden for the revealers of this information and nothing much will change.

The revealers will go to gaol and the QC will go free.

The only lawyer that I have met in recent years that I actually liked was a fair dinkum Christian. Strange that, a lawyer who actually follows the tenets of Jesus Christ.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re: George Brandis and why he is doing this

All the leadership (as well as many of the backbenchers) across all of the parties (of which we have a much larger range than you have in the USA) seem to be touched with an infantile and corrupt mindset.

To me, it appears as they spend their time in cocktail discussions with marketroids. They don’t care to listen to input from the backbenches (ie. IETF, et al).

Nice post btw. Kudos.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: George Brandis and why he is doing this

Many Australians consider this Liberal National Party Federal Government to be the worst ever in Australia’a history, with the current Prime Minister to be the worst ever by a country mile, presided over in the Lower House by the worst ever (again by a country mile) Speaker of the House. They are nothing but a far right wing Tea Party that lied on just about everything to get into power & are now trashing Parliament on such a scale that they hope that no-one will bother voting next time, if they allow a next time.

A Prime Minister who has hidden his renouciation of his British citizenship upon becoming a Member of Parliament, which is written into the Constitution, a man so full of lies that he is even living a big lie, just to hang onto power at all costs. Abbott lies about his lies, then lies again & again & again until people have just turned off listening to him.

Bringing in metadata laws to spy on everyone, whilst at the same time hiding the top 700 private companies’ tax details are just but one example of this, using the excuse that kidnappers may kidnap the rich if they see their tax details online. Calling a jewish MP in the opposition Dr. Goebells, pissing off the Irish on St. Patricks Day, & that’s just the past few days. Every day they stoop to new unimaginable lows in their rapid destruction of Australian society & the economy.

As for AG Senator Brandis, he is also the Minister for the Arts, so reports directly to Rupert Murdoch the kingmaker for his direction on what to do which saves lobbyists having to deal with two ministers. As soon as he came back into the job he lost for six years whilst in opposition this was what he was expected to do & within 18 months he has delivered his little bit to Rupert. Other Ministers have been busy doing their bit too for Rupert & once they are done they will be rewarded with some nice directors jobs somewhere in News Corp. Brandis wasn’t good at his job the last time he was doing it & certainly hasn’t bothered to try to improve himself this time around either.

Other things that this government have done on Rupert’s behalf has been to trash the National FTTP broadband network to stop any new competition to Foxtel (the real biggie), trying to privatise education (Rupert owns private education companies) & now attempting to further deregulating the media ownership rules in one of the most concentrated media ownership in the world.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: George Brandis and why he is doing this

Just so readers understand how beholden this government is to Rupert Murdoch, the Prime Minister (along with his Chief of Staff) & other senior Cabinet Ministers trot off to New York on a regular basis to get their directions straight from the horse’s mouth. This ensures that there are no communication trails that can be intercepted by third parties. Nothing is done without Mr. Murdoch’s prior approval, even the PM has admitted he runs ideas by Rupert first before going public, or even to his Cabinet team.

When Tony Abbott does have an independent thought he must call it as his “Captain’s pick”, so that Rupert isn’t tarnished with his complete stupidity, such as giving a knighthood to the Queen’s consort, Prince Philip.

wotnotnow says:

Re: Re: Re: George Brandis and why he is doing this

A sad time in political landscape, full governmental monitoring (if not defeated in the Senate) brought in by both government and opposition.

We, the people of Australia, have been betrayed by most if not all of our political representatives. Not a single party worth anything.

There are those who consider the current government as the worst in Australian history, but they are wrong. All the current parties are the worst in Australian history. We would see no functional difference if the current opposition was in government.

I personally detest the former Prime Ministers Bob Hawke (the consummate liar) and Paul Keating (the consummate thief) but they are both less harmful than any of the current leadership of the government or opposition parties that we have here in Australia.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Movies from Spain

…contain more than their fare share of gratuitous sex. Even when the subject of the film is not conducive to a sex scene. And when that scene appears it’s less like HBO Game of Thrones sex and more like Behind The Green Door.

This is not (just) because they like sex in Spain, but they’re so happy to be free of General Franco’s draconian censorship laws. Having a naked couple bumping funnies across the screen says Hooray! We can do this now!

I remember during the short lived Communications Decency Act how Americans would quote sex scenes from classics in their email sig line. For me it was an augmentation of emails that I enjoyed and sometimes miss. Australia may get to enjoy such a rebellion.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Movies from Spain

I remember during the short lived Communications Decency Act how Americans would quote sex scenes from classics in their email sig line.

Well? So? Surely you’ve saved some examples, anonymized and copyright sanitized (of course)? Cough ’em up. 😐

Just for historical accuracy purposes, you understand.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Winston and Julia

Oh please. They’re not hard to look up.

“You like doing this? I don’t mean simply me: I mean the thing in itself?”

“I adore it.”

That was above all what he wanted to hear. Not merely the love of one person but the animal instinct, the simple undifferentiated desire: that was the force that would tear the Party to pieces. He pressed her down upon the grass, among the fallen bluebells. This time there was no difficulty. Presently the rising and falling of their breasts slowed to normal speed, and in a sort of pleasant helplessness they fell apart. The sun seemed to have grown hotter. They were both sleepy. He reached out for the discarded overalls and pulled them partly over her. Almost immediately they fell asleep and slept for about half an hour.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Funny that

It’s always funny, though perhaps not in a ‘ha ha’ way, how those pushing more longer copyrights, and stricter laws, and more draconian enforcement have to fall back on emotional arguments or completely bypass the public entirely.

Those pushing for shorter copyrights on the other hand, more flexible and reasonable laws, and saner enforcement, they seem to have backing evidence a plenty to support their position.

One would almost think that the maximalists always try and bypass the public, and go with emotional arguments and/or personal attacks against those that disagree with them because the evidence isn’t on their side… but nah, I’m sure that can’t be it. /s

Pragmatic says:

Re: Re: Funny that

Well there’s the surveillance, I mean “security” companies to consider. Lot o’ jobs to be had in this growing industry, you know. Won’t somebody PLEASE think of their children?

So they had a nice little chat with the copyright maximalists and found some common ground…

Pragmatic says:

Re: Re: Re:2 "Go ahead! Throw your vote away."

The trouble is, we’ve probably got the numbers, but everyone’s afraid that either Kang or Kodos will get in if they don’t vote Red or Blue. Why don’t the people just nut up and vote third party, already?

If enough of us do, even in a first past the post system, we’ll get a third party candidate in. Seattle got a full-on Socialist into office because enough people voted for her.

It’s about getting the numbers. One vote is not enough. One hundred thousand votes ought to do it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 "Go ahead! Throw your vote away."

Australia has: they use Alternative Vote for the federal and most state lower houses and a broken (and soon-to-be even more broken) version of Single Transferrable Vote for the federal and state upper houses (the brokenness being designed to favour the major parties).

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