Australian Government Holds Secret Anti-Piracy Meetings; The Public Is Not Invited

from the so-20th-century dept

As Techdirt noted recently, policy-making behind closed doors is no longer acceptable. Until the end of the 20th century, it was hard for the general public to make their views heard, and so governments didn't really bother asking them. But that's no longer the case: the Internet has blown government wide open, and there is now no excuse for not consulting as widely as possible -- including the public -- before passing legislation or signing treaties.

That's a lesson that the Australian government seems not to have learned yet, judging by the following story:

The Federal Government has reportedly held a second closed door meeting held between the content and telecommunications industries to address the issue of illegal file sharing on the Internet through avenues such as BitTorrent.
The first meeting took place at the end of last year, and is part of the content industries' attempt to circumvent the Australian courts' refusal to order ISPs to act as a private copyright police force.

According to another report, the argument now seems to be mainly about who will pay for a proposed "graduated response" (three-strikes) scheme:

one source familiar with the discussions said local film industry representatives are concerned that the cost of operating graduated response schemes is too high.

Another source said the content industry’s response was to try to push the cost of managing infringement notices -- and an appeals mechanism for customers who felt they had been wrongly accused -- onto internet service providers.
Never mind the fact that the content industries not only want this kind of extra-judicial punishment, they want it for free: what's really appalling here is that "three strikes" seems to have been settled upon without any qualms about whether it is fair or would work, or whether it might be a good idea to conduct some research to find out. It's the usual evidence-free policy making that has bedevilled this area for decades. But that's hardly surprising, since the most important stakeholder here -- the public -- wasn't invited to the meetings to offer its views on moves that would have a major impact on using the Internet, on privacy and on civil liberties.

That's not only unacceptable, it's extremely unwise in view of what the Australian government plans to do next:

If the content and internet industries reach agreement on a scheme to deal with copyright infringement, the Attorney-General’s department is expected to put a draft proposal out for public consultation.
Given the way that such a draft proposal is being drawn up, any public consultation is likely to be seen as a sham, since the terms of the debate have already been set. And when the draft with a few token but irrelevant tweaks finally becomes law, guess how much public support that is going to have?

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Reader Comments (rss)

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 17th, 2012 @ 10:11am

    The Public Is Not Invited

    And why should they be? Its a private party for the elite. What are you, some kind of party crasher?

     

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    Nathan F (profile), Feb 17th, 2012 @ 10:13am

    None.

    And people will continue to ignore Copyright laws because they had no say in their making and always seem to go one way with little to no compromise.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Mr. Smarta**, Feb 17th, 2012 @ 10:15am

    Gee... anything else you'd like with your plate of everything?

    So, they want someone to build the nuclear carpet bombs, someone to fly them over the different countries and drop them, someone to clean up the mess and take the blame for all the innocent people blown up, and someone to pat them on the back for all the hard work they've done.

    Gee... They'll fit right in here in the U.S. with Obama and his cronies in Congress. Meanwhile, everyone who isn't a lawyer or in the Entertainment mafia gets bent over and done dry.

     

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      gorehound (profile), Feb 17th, 2012 @ 10:55am

      Re: Gee... anything else you'd like with your plate of everything?

      Don't Forget the Republican Party as well !!!
      You think they are not as corrupted as Obama and Democrats.These Politicians all have two-faces they wear.

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Feb 17th, 2012 @ 12:41pm

      Re: Gee... anything else you'd like with your plate of everything?

      "They'll fit right in here in the U.S. with Obama and his cronies in Congress."

      Unfortunately, the guys in Congress aren't Obama's cronies.
      They're his opponents.
      Or don't you watch the news, boy?

       

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      •  
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        Matt T. (profile), Feb 17th, 2012 @ 5:18pm

        Re: Re: Gee... anything else you'd like with your plate of everything?

        You're right, congress members aren't Obama's cronies.

        Both congress and Obama are the corporations' cronies.

         

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        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Feb 17th, 2012 @ 9:50pm

          Re: Re: Re: Gee... anything else you'd like with your plate of everything?

          That is... far more accurate than I wish it was, and has any right to be.

           

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    identicon
    MrWilson, Feb 17th, 2012 @ 10:17am

    Why would you invite the pirates...er, the public to a meeting about how to deal with the public...er, pirates?

    Maybe they have their heads stuck in the 18th Century and are still thinking that everyone in Australia is a criminal...

     

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    identicon
    Boo Boo, Feb 17th, 2012 @ 10:48am

    worms

    Why are these wide eyed dickheads in governments so up the ass of the content industry ?
    Do they think its cool hobnobbing with movie studios and record labels ?
    One of these days someone in high places is gonna get burned
    by hanging too close to these guys,they are all goo goo now running errands for the content mafia, but lets see , when these guys don't get what they want, the worm will turn.

     

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    Lowestofthekeys, Feb 17th, 2012 @ 10:56am

    What's the point in them even meeting? They're all agreeable to the same douchebag-esque maneuvers, and they obviously don't care about the people's opinion on things.

    They might as well just forego the pleasantries of making it seem like they're actually meeting to make an informed decision, and come out and say it's a giant corporate circle jerk.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 17th, 2012 @ 10:57am

    Do the citizens of Australia not vote their representatives to office? Of course they do. So how can you say the public isn't invited?

    Just like in the US, if you continue to vote these corrupt people into office, you'll just continue to see this occur.

     

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    •  
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      Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Feb 17th, 2012 @ 11:02am

      Re:

      How do you propose to fix the problem when nearly every politician from every party is corrupt in similar ways?

       

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    •  
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      The eejit (profile), Feb 17th, 2012 @ 11:07am

      Re:

      The public have a right to know what idiocies their government plans, so that they can voice their educated opinions on them.

       

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Feb 17th, 2012 @ 11:24am

        Re: Re:

        i'd say more, the, general opinion, of the public, which would include educated people and many many more, i.e. a debate among the people, to sum up the opinion of the people, on any given subject

         

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      Tim K (profile), Feb 17th, 2012 @ 11:21am

      Re:

      And when you vote for someone they always agree with you 100%, or change what they claimed during campaigning. And there's always someone you can vote for that isn't completely corrupt
      /s

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Feb 17th, 2012 @ 11:34am

      Re:

      For the love of . . .

      VOTING IS NOT THE END OF THE PROCESS!!!

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Krom, Feb 17th, 2012 @ 11:07am

    There should be a 3 strikes system for the studios/labels. Put out 3 atrocious movies/albums, get a ten year ban from the business. I wish I had the lobbying money to make this happen.

     

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    Violated (profile), Feb 17th, 2012 @ 11:14am

    Not a lot

    I am doubtful they will reach an agreement. After the Australian courts turned them down then the copyright cartels are only using this as a "bullying and threats" party.

    Then after all that the content industry do not even want to pay for the filtering system that they want to force on to the Australian public. A situation that only provides the answer to Donald Duck off.

    I am sure that the Tech Industry quickly learnt what little Hitlers the Content Industry is how they should not cooperate with them. The only way something would pass here was if they get tired of their whining screeching little child-like voices and just give them something to shut them the Hell up.

    Let me put it this way. How much love would iiNet have for the people who dragged them through the courts?

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 17th, 2012 @ 11:15am

    This is why we'll win

    We're building better mechanisms to share bits all the time -- note the recent changes at the Pirate Bay, such that it'll all fit on a pretty small USB stick. That's only one of many changes that are coming, and the MAFIAA aren't going to like any of them. Our goal is make sharing ubiquitous, easy, resistant to attacks, uncensorable, and unstoppable.

    We will, of course. While the MAFIAA is busy bribing politicians and hiring lawyers, we're writing code...and code trumps law. WE will decide what happens next, and how, and where: no mere government will dictate to us.

    The future's coming. Adapt or die.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 17th, 2012 @ 11:16am

    I think our governments officials and corporate emloyers and employees, are nervous that the public finally has a will and a way to start "joining in", like never before, to voice opinions that are beneficial to the public, but potentially negative towards the status quo.

    I think certain people with influence throughout our socities, have been doing it a certain way for so long, they dont want change , through fear of loss, loss of property, loss of control, loss of a tool, loss of a service etc etc etc

    there are those who will do whatever it takes to keep what they know "as long as it works for me, to hell with the consequence to others".
    Being so accustomed to their situation, and unwilling to do it all over again......when life is so cushty, why change, understandable, but dont expect the people at the bottom looking up at you and and expect them to accept it In an ideal world, we would be equal on all things, if you want to stay up there, then everyone should be up there, just because its hard, does'nt make it impossible, just not desirable,

    and a hell of a lot harder, considering the priorities of some, and actions of others......consciously or subconsciously

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 17th, 2012 @ 11:19am

    The public should show up anyway by the millions.

     

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    Nunya, Feb 17th, 2012 @ 11:55am

    No $hit dumba$$....

    It's SECRET!

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 17th, 2012 @ 12:06pm

    given the circumstances under which, from what i understand, the Australian Prime Minister was herself promoted and finally achieved the post, this is no surprise really. i wonder how long before the Aussies will start to make their feelings known? bet it wont be pretty!

     

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    toyotabedzrock (profile), Feb 17th, 2012 @ 2:40pm

    Australia Meets Anonymous

    I expect Anonymous is already probing their government servers for vulnerabilities. Or they might wait until tues. since they don't all sit online everyday.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 17th, 2012 @ 7:53pm

    These film execs, always wanting private copyright enforcement for free... what a bunch of freetards!

     

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    inconsistency (profile), Feb 17th, 2012 @ 9:34pm

    as an aussie

    I've been watching with incredulity your SoPA/PIPA fight.

    To find that it has now landed here is depressing, but not surprising

    I have now decided - I will not spend a single dollar more on these arseholes.

    There a few movies released recently that I wouldn't mind seeing, but fuck them. I'll wait til they're available on-line

    There are a few new TV shows starting up, here, with our ratings season having just started, that look intriguing, but fuck them. I'll wait til they're available on line

    I will not buy another newspaper or magazine - Rupert murdoch is probably the evilest fuck in the world, and he owns far too much of the media, here.

    I have a DVD collection numbering over 200 titles - i've always enjoyed the special features - and about 30 blu-rays, but fuck them. I WILL not buy any brand new media anymore.

    I will wait to find second-hand copies of any movies or TV shows or music CDs I want so that I do not give these evil fucks a SINGLE hard-earned dollar EVER again.

    I have actively argued with friends and relatives that only ever download content about needing to pay the creators for their work.

    But FUCK THEM

    Never again!

     

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  •  
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    inconsistency (profile), Feb 17th, 2012 @ 9:57pm

    as an aussie

    I've been watching with incredulity your SoPA/PIPA fight.

    To find that it has now landed here is depressing, but not surprising

    I have now decided - I will not spend a single dollar more on these arseholes.

    There a few movies released recently that I wouldn't mind seeing, but fuck them. I'll wait til they're available on-line

    There are a few new TV shows starting up, here, with our ratings season having just started, that look intriguing, but fuck them. I'll wait til they're available on line

    I will not buy another newspaper or magazine - Rupert murdoch is probably the evilest fuck in the world, and he owns far too much of the media, here.

    I have a DVD collection numbering over 200 titles - i've always enjoyed the special features - and about 30 blu-rays, but fuck them. I WILL not buy any brand new media anymore.

    I will wait to find second-hand copies of any movies or TV shows or music CDs I want so that I do not give these evil fucks a SINGLE hard-earned dollar EVER again.

    I have actively argued with friends and relatives that only ever download content about needing to pay the creators for their work.

    But FUCK THEM

    Never again!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 17th, 2012 @ 11:38pm

    As Another Aussie

    Please settle down, our American cousins. This meeting was between the content industry and our local ISPs. Our ISPs are very well aware that the content industry would like to book them in for some rough sessions of ass-raping. They are not at all keen on that idea and are rightly proposing to charge immense fees to the content industry. The content industry is saying things like, "How dare you!" and "The government should pay!"

    The discussion will go nowhere. In the unlikely event that it looks like getting anywhere, there are internet-freedom-loving groups standing by, ready to put the fear of death into our local pollies.

    A preferential voting system is a wonderful thing. You should try it.

     

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      Chargone (profile), Feb 18th, 2012 @ 9:51am

      Re: As Another Aussie

      it gets less wonderful if you have the capacity to vote 'above the line' and compulsory voting though. it's sufficiantly complex that far too many people, when given no choice but to vote, just go with, rather than voting for their party because 'that's my party, damn it!' they ... vote for the people their party wants... to the exact same effect.

      so, yeah, probably works better if you get rid of at least one of 'compulsory' and 'above the line' voting.

      or at least, that's the impression i got when reading up about it prior to the last referendum on our election system here in NZ :)

       

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      identicon
      Another, another Australian., Feb 19th, 2012 @ 3:53pm

      Re: As Another Aussie

      At least JuLIAR Gilltard knows exactly what will happen if she's been watching the SOPA/PIPA shitstorm in the US. So with her popularity issues (not to mention her reliance on the Greens who vehemently oppose this sort of crony capitalism crap) right now it won't happen, at least for this term.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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