Australia's Attorney General Ignores All Evidence And Experts: Decides To Obey Hollywood's Commands On Copyright

from the politics-in-action dept

We kind of expected this to happen, but after a long process in which the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) carefully reviewed all sorts of proposals and evidence on copyright reform, and released some sensible proposals, Australia's Attorney General (who is also its Arts Minister apparently), George Brandis, has ignored all of it, preferring to only listen to a Hollywood front group, leading him to push for a three strikes plan and censorship in an attempt to "protect" Hollywood. He does this, even though some of the best research on how terribly ineffective three strikes programs have been comes from Australian scholar Rebecca Giblin.

In other words, despite lots of careful research by independent parties, and plenty of scholarly work to inform the debate, Brandis has decided to ignore all of it, and go with what the MPAA is telling him to do -- and yes, the "Australian Screen Association" is actually run by folks in Hollywood (though it changed its name from AFACT to ASA to try to hide that).

For years, our biggest complaint with copyright policies is the fact that so much of it is entirely faith-based. The movie and recording industries go on big emotional pleas about how "piracy" is destroying their industries (despite record output), and insist that the reason is piracy -- ignoring tons of evidence that this is not the case. There is no doubt that these industries are facing serious transitions, but time and time again, we've seen that those who embrace the transition and (here's the key part) provide more of what the public wants in a convenient fashion tend to do better than they did before. At the same time, merely ratcheting up enforcement and censorship creates massive unintended consequences and little actual benefit for the industries who push for those policies.

Australia's decision to cave to Hollywood on this will be cheered as a victory by the MPAA and its various supporters, but it's a massive loss for everyone. Promoting censorship along with anti-innovation and anti-consumer policies are no way to embrace the future.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2014 @ 3:56am

    Which is it? Are these programs feckless or are they censorship? I don't see how they can be both at the same time.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2014 @ 3:58am

    And again it is shown that it is not about rightful compensation for creators. It is about control. Full control over who gets to watch, read, and use what and what they must pay for the privilege. Full control over who gets to create (and, incidentally, pay for the privilege). Full control over who gets to be considered to infringe (if everybody does, you can attack anyone at your leisure).

     

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  3.  
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    Ninja (profile), May 6th, 2014 @ 4:14am

    I CAN'T HEAR YOU OVER THE SOUND OF MONEY FLOWING FROM HOLLYWOOD INTO MY POCKETS! - Mr Brandis

     

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  4.  
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    PaulT (profile), May 6th, 2014 @ 4:25am

    Re:

    "I don't see how they can be both at the same time."

    It's quite easy. While they're useless at their supposed intended aims (pirated material is always still available), they act as an impedance or block to legitimate free speech and innovation. The scope is also usually too wide, so that things that should be legal are caught up in the net - and the effort and expense of freeing those things are usually placed on the victims.

    These things cannot be 100% effective at stopping piracy - but they don't have to be 100% effective to act as censorship and a barrier to free speech. Especially since they usually come with the presumption of guilt rather than innocence attached with no real punishment for making false accusations.

     

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  5.  
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    PaulT (profile), May 6th, 2014 @ 4:28am

    Re:

    Also, since the implementation of such things is usually left to 3rd parties who cannot possibly have all the necessary details, they tend to overcompensate to avoid liability, and block legitimate speech in the process (see: UK filters blocking educational and charity sites).

     

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  6.  
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    Andypandy, May 6th, 2014 @ 4:43am

    MPAA

    When are rights organizations going to start suing them for everything they have done to stifle innovation, they have been given many opportunities to develop and instigate systems where citizens of the world can purchase or rent their content but no they prefer to insert themselves into local institutes in every country to force their push against innovation.
    The content creators should be up in arms and protesting and defunding the mpaa now so they can gain some of the billions available worldwide for people who actually do want to get their content online and pay a fair amount for it. $1 for a movie and $3 for a 24 part tv series..

     

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  7.  
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    Berenerd (profile), May 6th, 2014 @ 4:51am

    Give the guy a break...

    He is just following his heart...which is kept safely in his wallet.

     

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  8.  
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    sinsi (profile), May 6th, 2014 @ 4:59am

    It's a bit like MPAA vs iiNet - go after the smaller one in the hope that it carries on to the bigger ones.
    One hope - the current Government is a bit on the nose at the moment. Let's hope that this doesn't sneak under the radar.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    HT, May 6th, 2014 @ 5:05am

    The Problem Is...

    Australia is still without a great distribution system. We're not allowed to legally use Netflix, HBO GO, etc., and iTunes doesn't have all the good stuff.

    George Brandis is an idiot on the level of Stephen Conroy (it must be something about Aus Senators) and not forcing what I'll call "Media Agencies" to licence their stuff fairly is what's killing us.

    If someone in Australia pirates, it's generally because they can't get it anywhere else easier. It's a pile of shit. For all the freemarket bullshit that these politicians go on about, they're sure do enjoy stifling innovation and promoting cartel practices.

     

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  10.  
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    JMT (profile), May 6th, 2014 @ 5:09am

    Re:

    "I don't see how they can be both at the same time."

    Then either you haven't been paying enough attention or your employer requires you to 'not see' how both have been happening.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2014 @ 5:43am

    and if what i read is correct, he is being funded by the biggest 'entertainment industry shister going, Murdoch himself. remember how he wants to be in charge of everyone and everything, everywhere, has lied through hie teeth over the 'hacking' scandal in the UK, ensuring that he was able to pass the buck on to anyone who happened to be in the sights at the time. for any business owner to have no idea, as he swore under oath, to what was going on, he deserves to lose his business! to actually go down the road of funding this, he's not getting any more brownie points and nor is the prat that's following his orders. he needs to remember why he's got the job, who put him there and who can remove him as well!!

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2014 @ 6:33am

    Heh

    Apparently Aussies AG prefer supporting terrorism and destroying human rights from Australian citizens.

    Trust the law/courts indeed =P

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2014 @ 6:45am

    I wonder...

    I wonder...

    Let's say Brandis is bought and paid for by Big Copyright (and I'm not saying he is), what would the policy he is proposing look like?

    Let's say Brandis is acting in the best interests of his constituents - the people of Australia (and I'm not saying he is), what would his policy look like?

    How does the actual policy compare to those two questions?

    (Logic note: A leads to B, B is true, doesn't automatically mean that A is true. Therefore if you said that the policy under one of those two cases looks like the actual policy, it doesn't imply that he is deliberately acting in the interests of the beneficiary. Doesn't mean he isn't, either.)

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2014 @ 7:07am

    Mike, let me ask you this. Do experts grease the palms of politicians? Do experts provide them with campaign contributions and revolving door favors? Does the public interest matter to the personal interests of politicians? No? Then why should politicians care?

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2014 @ 7:53am

    (Sarc)
    Where did Australis come from? 2013 Firefox OS phone greed or .... ?

    A nasty (and somewhat gayish) party in Australia gone horribly wrong with too much lobbies on the bagh-bees, and a few too many shiela's with an extra toolbar.

    meanwhile all the themes, addons, toolbars, statusbars, and menus gone missing in the mornin

     

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  16. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2014 @ 10:00am

    Pirate Mike Masnick just hates it when copyright law is enforced.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2014 @ 10:02am

    Hollywood made Australia it's bitch.

     

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

  18.  
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    PopeyeLePoteaux (profile), May 6th, 2014 @ 2:04pm

    Re:

    Because in an ideal world, politicians should make decisions based on evidence and reason, we expect rational governance, not just politicians making decisions based on the bribes they get.

     

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

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2014 @ 2:13pm

    Re: Re:

    Politicians are basing their decisions on evidence and reason. It's evidenced to politicians that if they pass corporate laws they get revolving door favors in return. So it stands to reason that a self interested politician will pass laws representing the corporation and not the public. and, what do you know, our current laws favor corporations.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Kronomex, May 6th, 2014 @ 3:16pm

    Re: The Problem Is...

    Somehow I just can't see Rupert loosening his stranglehold by even one byte.

     

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

  21.  
    identicon
    John, May 6th, 2014 @ 3:23pm

    Does anybody no of a good VPN service?

    This change in law will be so ineffective. All the serious downloaders already have VPN and other services to minimise detection. It will be the granny who's grand kids download movies while visiting, who will get cut off and/or fined who will have no idea what is going on. I suppose we don't have to dig too deep to find out who contributed to the Liberal parties campaign fund.

    I rarely download (only movies I can't find at the shop) but I will need a good VPN service as I have teenage kids who one day (if they aren't already) click on links to "illegal content", despite being warned about the possible consequences.

    Please recommend a good VPN service for Australians.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2014 @ 4:07pm

    The ALRC review was done purely so that the Australian Government could get a discount on their software bill. They had no intention of paying those same savings on to the Australian public

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2014 @ 4:09pm

    Passing not paying

     

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

  24. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2014 @ 4:50pm

    Mike Masnick just hates it when copyright law is enforced.

     

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

  25.  
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    charliebrown (profile), May 6th, 2014 @ 5:07pm

    Australia's Government (by an Australian)

    Our current government, rumoured to be a world wide joke, is doing everything they can to screw us over at the moment. Not only have they de-funded almost all enviromental programs, they removed the position of Minister For Science from the portfolio of government.

    They are claiming we are broke as a country (which is probably very true) but then commision a report, that cost millions, to try to find sollutions to the problem, but commission it from big business owners who conclude that the best thing to do is freeze the minimum wage and cut services to welfare, hospitals and schools whilst increasing taxes but not taxes on the rich, only on low and "middle" income earners.

    Our federal budget will be out next Tuesday and you will hear Australia moaning collectively from wherever you live in this world as everything is being cut except government salaries and military spending.

    This push for three strikes on internet or internet censorship is actually one of our least concerns at the moment and it is still a big concern. But in the grand scheme of things, it is actually quite low on the agenda for most Australians at the moment.

    By the way, shortly before the election, it was announced that the government would filter the internet. The backlash was fast and servere. The policy was retracted within hours. But I don't think it was ever really retracted, it was just denied then they stopped talking about it publically.

    Also, our prime minister is pushing the TPP like mad and has already signed trade agreements with Japan and China, claiming they will be good for Australia but then only releasing the details after signing, of course, leaving no room for discussion then ignoring any discussion anyway.

     

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  26.  
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    James (profile), May 6th, 2014 @ 5:09pm

    Not all as it seems?

    I am in no way in favour of a ‘3 strikes’ rule, nor do I have any reservations that the Australian Liberal government is setting our country back decades in their short time in office. However, this article:

    http://www.afr.com/p/technology/brandis_mulls_three_strikes_rule_fHbNn5PdCtf5OYW8FeodPO

    from the Australian Financial Review seems to suggest that the result of the warnings will not be a ban from internet, and that there is a lot to do before anything is implemented (such as getting through a tough Parliament). Anyone have any thoughts or comments?

     

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

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2014 @ 5:31pm

    Re:

    because enforcing laws is a good thing no matter how bad those laws are.

     

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

  28.  
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    martyburns (profile), May 6th, 2014 @ 5:42pm

    Everything in Australia is dangerous

    ..including it's copyright laws.

     

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

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2014 @ 5:43pm

    Re:

    If bribery is what it takes to enforce your laws, they're not laws.

     

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

  30.  
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    Bpat, May 6th, 2014 @ 6:45pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I signed this ^

     

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

  31.  
    identicon
    Bpat, May 6th, 2014 @ 6:48pm

    Re: The Problem Is...

    At least Conroy was going to give us Fiber to the Premise

     

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

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2014 @ 8:25pm

    Re: Re: The Problem Is...

    Perhaps eventually, but probably not before 2020 in my suburb which is considered "inner suburbs residential" in Perth!

    Not that I necessarily think the new plan is any better, but it's not really worth defending the old plan in my view.

     

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

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2014 @ 8:49pm

    Re:

    (I know I shouldn't be replying but...)

    1. It's not law, it's just legislation
    2. It's not being enforced, it's just being proposed

    Even if the legislation turns into law, there's no guarantee how well it will be enforced (see examples from the rest of the world).

    Even if it's enforced, there's still no guarantee that anything will change (see examples from the rest of the world)

     

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

  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2014 @ 8:52pm

    Re: Everything in Australia is dangerous

    Even more venomous than its sheep!

     

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

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2014 @ 10:25pm

    Re: Enforcement of law

    Let me ask you a simple question:

    Are all laws just?

    And a second:

    If there is an unjust law, what do you do about ?

    When you have answered both of these fairly and honestly, then mayhaps your comments won't get flagged for being the idiocy they are.

     

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

  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2014 @ 5:58am

    Re: The Problem Is...

    For all the freemarket bullshit that these politicians go on about, they're sure do enjoy stifling innovation and promoting cartel practices.

    Think "Emperor's," "new" and "clothes."

    Somewhere in Australia there's a middleaged man running about buck naked declaring he's ahead of fashion in a suit that only the most intelligent, discerning people can see.

    And right behind him a little boy is running around shouting, "I can see your winkie, Mister!" That'd be you, HT.

    You're right, is what I'm saying. It IS bullshit. And the sooner people realize that there's no such thing as a free market, the better.

    An open market would be nice. A fair open market where the rights of buyers (demand side) and sellers (supply side) were balanced so that neither had a special advantage over the other would be even nicer. In fact, it'd be idea. No monopolies, monopsonies, oligopolies, cartels, or anything like that. No price-fixing in the name of imaginary property rights. No overbearing copyright, patents, or trademark laws.

    Let me dream. It might happen if we vote the right people in. The Pirate Party, for example...

    Hey Europeans, there's a Europarl election coming up. Vote Pirate! /plug

     

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

  37.  
    identicon
    p, May 7th, 2014 @ 5:59am

    Re: Re: The Problem Is...

    *...it'd be ideal.

     

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

  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2014 @ 4:16pm

    Re: Re: The Problem Is...

    Your premise is flawed.

    :)

     

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

  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2014 @ 4:20pm

    Re:

    Because *we* employ them to care.
    Because *we* pay them to care.
    Because *we* ...... oh never mind - it's broken.

    Currently - Because *campaign donations* pay them NOT to care.

     

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

  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2014 @ 4:22pm

    Re:

    Hollywood must have gotten bored with America bending over for it.

     

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

  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2014 @ 5:24am

    Re: Re:

    Gotta switch hands once in a while.

     

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

  42.  
    identicon
    notgmo, May 8th, 2014 @ 8:34pm

    Re: Not all as it seems?


    ... that the Australian Liberal government is ...


    Don't forget to mention that the Australian 'Liberals' are in fact right-wing conservatives...

     

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


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