Copyright Industry Keeps Asking For More In Australia: VPN Ban Next?

from the collateral-damage dept

Techdirt has been following the rather depressing saga of the Australian government’s attempt to ram through new copyright powers for some time now. As TorrentFreak reports, under great pressure from the Australian government, local ISPs have put together a draft voluntary code for dealing with alleged copyright infringement (pdf). The Australasian Music Publishers Association (AMPAL) has now weighed in, and basically wants everything to be much harsher, including the following:

“The Code does not place a general obligation on ISPs to monitor and detect online copyright infringement,” the publishers write. “AMPAL submits that ideally the Code should include such a duty using ISPs? monitoring and filtering techniques.”

“The Code does not require ISPs to block access to infringing material. AMPAL submits that ideally the Code should include provisions obliging ISPs to take such action following provision of the relevant information by Rights Holders and/or following discovery of copyright infringing websites by ISPs? monitoring and filtering techniques,” the publishers write.

“AMPAL submits that ideally additional options should be available to Rights Holders in the form of sanctions or mitigation procedures to be imposed on Account Holders,” the publishers write.

In other words, AMPAL wants to get ISPs do all the dirty work, turning them into both cops and executioner. But AMPAL isn’t alone in coming up with disproportionate responses to the ISP code. Via ZDNet, here’s a comment from BBC Worldwide (pdf), the wholly-owned commercial arm of the British broadcaster:

The Code is ill-equipped [to] deal with consumers who spoof or mask their IP addresses to avoid detection, behaviour that we believe will increase as a result of an introduction of a notice scheme.

The footnote for that point refers to a TorrentFreak article about Canadian piracy notifications boosting demand for VPNs, which confirms that what BBC Worldwide is concerned about here is the ease with which Australians will be able to use things like VPNs to evade sanctions by masking their IP address.

Of course, anyone who understands how the Internet works — and how people use it — has been pointing this out for years. But the worrying thing is that the copyright industry seems to be surprised by this possibility. Knowing the way it thinks, and its complete indifference to the collateral damage it might cause, the fear has to be that the next stage in its war on sharing will be demanding that governments ban VPNs.

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Comments on “Copyright Industry Keeps Asking For More In Australia: VPN Ban Next?”

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Anonymous Coward says:

when are people going to say ‘enough is enough!’ the world is being run by an industry that has only one aim and that is to be in control. even then, i have to wonder whether being in control of it’s own stuff is going to be enough because it seems as if it wants control of the internet world wide and who can do what anywhere, anyhow with people actually having to ask if they can put a website on the internet. if the industries so ‘no’ you’re screwed but the more likely answer is going to be ‘yes, but it’s gonna cost X amount’!
whatever it is that the industries have on politicians, on governments and on law makers, it must be pretty damn good because all of the above in every country world wide almost are falling over themselves to do what the industries want, even when it means screwing their own citizens and countries and all for an industry that runs on ‘Make Believe’! if we are not very careful, there is going to be real shit hitting fan because if they get the control they want, and hold companies even countries to ransom, things could go very bad, very quickly!

Anonymous Coward says:

“the next stage in its war on sharing will be demanding that governments ban VPNs.”

The MAFIAA won’t ask that VPNs be banned, but instead demand that they be regulated (as ISPs are) to the point that there is no advantage to the end user in getting a VPN over exposing a computer’s naked IP address.

Let’s not forget that many VPNs –perhaps even most– offer essentially zero anonymity, because (for their own benefit) they log traffic and store those logs for a long time. It’s only the rare P2P-friendly VPNs that offer users any anonymity protection (by intentionally NOT keeping logs). Even paid services like Hide-MY-Ass and Giganews VPN have ratted out customers when the lawyers came knocking.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

VPNs would simply border-hop (as many already have) as countries start regulating them, but eventually, there will be no place left to go, especially when the United States government starts threatening countries directly with trade sanctions (or worse) if they don’t start cracking down on [whatever Hollywood doesn’t like].

Anonymous Coward says:

they are probably right and spoofed ip connections will increase. that being the case, why does no one every take the sensible option and submit more legal sites that compete? the illegal sites are there because not enough legal sites are available. why shut down the illegal sites but not enable more legal options at the same time? how things go atm, it seems that in order to keep the control they think they should have, the industries view is shut down illegal sites but still make it almost impossible for people to find legal alternatives, unless of course, ridiculously high prices are paid! that could be the deciding factor and no one buys anything . now that would be interesting! it has been proven that there is virtually no change in the numbers of albums and movies bought, regardless of whether illegal sites are operating or not. so what other excuse can they come up with?

BigKeithO says:

Re: Re:

If you live outside of the US the majority of content is unavailable to you whether you are willing to pay or not. I would happily continue to pay for Netflix (maybe 1 or 2 more reasonably priced sites, no more) and visit official websites with advertising however this is not an option.

Users in the US have no idea how bleak the streaming situation is outside of the country. You have to use a VPN / DNS spoofer in order to see most things. Why make it so difficult to take my money?

Whoever says:

Much easier for content sources to detect VPNs

It is much easier for content distributors to detect VPNs. All they have to do is look for IP addresses where there are lots of different clients behind a single address.

Of course, if carrier-grade NAT becomes more widespread, this will make the above detection method unreliable.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

something something same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

They have no new plans.
They have no new ideas.
This time it will work and change everything.

Perhaps treating several million consumers like shit for decades, causes them to look into alternatives.

The solution is to get a clue that the business you are in is selling product to consumers, and everytime you put up another roadblock chasing imaginary dollars pissing off consumers who want to pay you… they find another way.

If you sell the content at the price the market wants without trying to pretend you still own it, the consumers will take the really easy path you made. Focus on getting them back by offering better for less, not worse for more.

eye sea ewe says:

Even the Communications Minister Mr Turnbull has described

ways to get around the insanity of their new bill.

Malcolm Turnbull lists ways to avoid having your metadata collected
During a television interview Mr Turnbull was pushed on whether people could avoid detection by the retention law Mr Turnbull conceded there were “always ways to get around things”.

The Minister admitted his metadata retention laws were not “a silver bullet”, and even went so far as to list at least seven different services journalists could use to get around them, and encouraged them to do so.

“If you have a device, and if I call you just through the mobile phone network, then there will be a record at my carrier that I’ve called your number,” he told Sky’s David Speers.

“If on the other hand I’ve called you by Skype, or a voice call on Viber, I send you a message on Whatsapp or Wickr or Threema or Signal, you know, Telegram, there’s a gazillion of them.

“Or indeed, if we have a Facetime call, the telco can see that I have made a connection to a Skype server or a Whatsapp server, it doesn’t see that I’ve had any connection with you.”

When pressed on whether these workarounds could also be used by terrorists or sex offenders, Mr Turnbull said the tough laws were not going to be “a guarantee”.

“There are always ways for people to get around things, but of course a lot of people don’t,” he said.

Mr Turnbull said whistleblowers and journalist’s sources had “nothing additionally” to fear, saying telcos had been keeping call charge records for periods of up to seven years for a very long time, and those records could be accessed by a number of agencies, “even the RSPCA”.

“People didn’t realise what was going on,” he said.

“The fact is we’re narrowing the scope dramatically as to who can access this material”, adding accessibility would be limited to police and ASIO.

The Communications Minister was last month outed as a Wickr user, using the encrypted messaging app to bypass his own tough laws, and now admits he uses a number of similar services.

“I am the Communications Minister,” he told Speers.

So VPN’s and any other measure that may be used is already known to defeat the new laws.

So one must ask, Why bring them in in the first place?

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Even the Communications Minister Mr Turnbull has described

“I’ve called you by Skype”

Too bad he listed Skype, since Skype is compromised and isn’t a solution. But then, my first instinct when I hear high government officials encourage people to use specific services is that you should avoid those specific services anyway. It seems likely that they want to herd people into compromised services than that they want to enable people to maintain their privacy and security.

AUSTRALIAN_NET_USER (profile) says:

Why is every NET user going to be strip-searched when leaving a shop in case someone is trying to steal a Mars Bar.

As one user on Whirlpool Australia states:

“What an absolute joke! Speaking has someone who could care less about Netflix OR Foxtel OR any of these corporations. Where do they get off trying to lobby to get rid of VPN’s just because someone may be trying to download something or watch something on their crappy network.





I also don’t care about the rubbish media that they are trying to protect AT ALL, and so I agree with the quote from the Whirlpool user above that it is ludicrous that these corporations are demanding so much oversight from ISP’s and the Australian govermnet.

Has anyone just told them to go pedal their rubbish somewhere else. Look at the reports on Murdoch making a huge profit in Australia and then using suspect methods to shift the profit offshore. The Fox has the cheek to cry that some maybe watching their rubbish without paying! What a ridiculous hypocrite. The mostly awful music industry and the BBC should be told to tell it to someone who cares. The BBC for has put out some good miniseries and documentaries, but also some absolute moronic rubbish as well.

The media should do a real survey and ask Australian users what they think Foxtel the BBC the MPAA and the rest of them should do. Which will probably be told to either make the stuff available for a reasonable price and stop trying to price gouge for it, or just pissoff.

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