Why Does South Korea Want To Turn Australia's ISPs Into Hollywood's Copyright Cops?

from the what-a-coincidence dept

Techdirt has been covering for a while how iiNet has doggedly fought attempts to make Australian ISPs liable for copyright infringement on their networks, and how Hollywood has been pressuring Australia's (relatively) new Attorney General into making that happen. The latest development, reported by Gizmodo Australia, is that KAFTA, the free trade agreement between Australia and South Korea, signed in April this year, mentions iiNet in the following section concerning its implementation (pdf):
Consistent with Australia's existing obligations in the Australia-US and Australia-Singapore FTAs, and to fully implement its obligations under KAFTA, the Copyright Act 1968 will require amendment in due course to provide a legal incentive for online service providers to cooperate with copyright owners in preventing infringement due to the High Court's decision in Roadshow Films Pty Ltd v iiNet Ltd, which found that ISPs are not liable for authorising the infringements of subscribers.
As that makes plain, this is specifically about overturning the court case that iiNet won, and forcing Australian ISPs to act as copyright police. That would be really terrible for iiNet, after all the effort and money it has put into fighting precisely this outcome, and bad news for the Australian public, which would doubtless find ISPs erring on the side of caution and taking down perfectly legal material.

But the interesting question has to be: why on earth does South Korea care about this? It seems unlikely that there is enough piracy of South Korean music or films going on Australia to justify the Korean government demanding a change to Australia's copyright laws as part of a free trade deal. The fact that this implementation requirement just happens to match exactly what Hollywood has been demanding for some time must raise the suspicion that the US has had a hand in this on behalf of its copyright industries. That's yet another reason for demanding real transparency during trade negotiations, so that such shabby deals can be exposed before it's too late to do anything about them.

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Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 4:42pm

    Because south Korea is the kind of place that deep throats corporations. Anyone who is poor is that way because they aren't bootstrappy enough

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 4:47pm

    Australia has a significant Asian population and Korean music and media has gained a decent amount of popularity throughout east and southeast Asia. I wouldn't necessarily think that this is only coming from Hollywood.

     

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  3.  
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    Whatever, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 6:04pm

    The issue

    The real issue is that the Australian court decision didn't just remove liability from the ISP, it also effectively created a shield around their clients. The wording of that agreement is basically to say it's unacceptable to both grant immunity to the ISP and to allow them to block any move to find out who the end user is actually pirating the material.

    Korean movies and TV series are very popular all over Asia / Pacific, and are translated into many languages. They could be considered the Hollywood of Asia, they produce that much. It's not unusual for them to seek protection for what is a significant part of their economy.

     

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  4.  
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    zip, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 6:15pm

    Re:

    Hollywood money flows into many supposedly "native" copyright-centric trade organizations around the world, such as BREIN in the Netherlands, which in the past has received a significant chunk of its money from the other side of the Atlantic.

    Korea has its own version of the US's RIAA, the Korean Association of Phonogram Producers. KAPP was instrumental in shutting down Soribada - "the Korean Napster" - a few years ago after a hard-fought lobbying & legal battle. I don't know how much, if any, US money flows into Korean pro-copyright organizations like KAPP, but if so, it would certainly not be the first time.

    Also, South Korea is still a (borderline) occupied 'puppet' state of the USA, so we can assume that little happens there that does not have at least some degree of US government approval -- and by extension, its Hollywood paymasters.

    These *secret* trade agreements provide an end-run around a country's legislative and judicial process whenever they prove an obstacle, so it's not surprising that the copyright nazis would seek them out as a kind of underground pipeline into a country's political/legal system.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 6:56pm

    Re: The issue

    They're not "blocking any move".

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 10:47pm

    Re: The issue

    No, it really didn't. IT placed liability on those responsible. That's called justice.

     

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  7.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jun 18th, 2014 @ 11:04pm

    Re: Re: The issue

    But going after those actually responsible would take work, much cheaper and easier to buy laws that force everyone else to do your 'copyright enforcement' for you, free of charge(to the copyright owners anyway, certainly not to the ones who suddenly find themselves unofficial 'employees' of them).

     

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  8.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jun 18th, 2014 @ 11:07pm

    Right out of the Maximalist playbook

    'If you can't get the desired result in court with the current laws, use 'trade agreements' to get the laws changed and try again.'

     

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  9.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Jun 18th, 2014 @ 11:29pm

    Re: The issue

    No it didn't 'create' a shield at all.

    That shield was already there it is called "Procedural Fairness" and is an absolute element of all legal structures within Australia and other democracies (except the USA) - look it up, be amazed.. I'll wait

     

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  10.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Jun 18th, 2014 @ 11:44pm

    >> "[the] Copyright Act 1968 will require amendment in due course to provide a legal incentive for online service providers to cooperate with copyright owners in preventing infringement "

    Interestingly this is ALREADY within the Copyright Act 1968 both explicitly and implied.

    What instead they are wanting is for The High Courts decision that if Copyright holders have evidence that a crime has been committed for those holders to go through the proper procedures which is Y via the police for criminal allegations or the Local/District courts for civil allegations.

    Any other avenues are inappropriate and unlawful. The ISP's if all lawful avenues are used are obligated to supply information that could be used as evidence/discovery if a warrant (criminal) or subpoena (civil) are granted.

    This like I stated above in answer to another commentator's obfuscation about the iiNet v Roadshow case is all about both due process and Procedural Fairness.

    What the Copyright Holders, and lets out them for whom they really are.. Australian Screen Association (aka AFACT) and their masters the MPAA, instead want these processes removed so that they do not need to go to courts and have actual reasonable suspicion of civil infringement, or even worse for them actually have the police investigate criminal allegations that are then absolutely removed from their hands.

    This is all about the MPAA not wanting to do things how they are supposed to be and want to be treated differently than anyone else because...."piracy".

    Luckily the Copyright Act doesn't have to be changed in that way under KAFTA, though even if it did they would also have to change our Privacy laws, Crime's Act and Civil procedure legislations.. Not to mention our Constitution as well. Good luck with that

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 12:21am

    Re: The issue

    Korean movies and TV series are very popular all over Asia / Pacific, and are translated into many languages.

    True, but that doesn't include Australia: http://peril.com.au/back-editions/edition1213/korean-film-down-under-accessibility-for-australian-au diences/
    By the end of 2011 there would have been around 55 Korean films released on DVD down-under. ... Korean content became enormously popular throughout China, Vietnam, Taiwan, Hong Kong and other territories. But this melodrama and comedy craze, which the dramas almost solely focus on, has not been reflected through the film content available in Australia.

    If you read the article, Australia just isn't likely to be a big market for Korean movies any time soon. Typically the market needs to exist before you need to protect it, so this protectionism is unlikely to be home-sourced.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 12:25am

    Re:

    What the Copyright Holders, and lets out them for whom they really are.. Australian Screen Association (aka AFACT) and their masters the MPAA, instead want these processes removed so that they do not need to go to courts and have actual reasonable suspicion of civil infringement, or even worse for them actually have the police investigate criminal allegations that are then absolutely removed from their hands.

    Not in New Zealand, apparently! I'm a little surprised the Aussie police haven't been bought as well, but maybe it's too hard to get them out of the pockets of the bikers...

     

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  13.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 12:57am

    Re: Re:

    o.O lol!

    Though it's more a matter of

    AFACT: We have this 'evidence' of someone illegally stealing our films.

    POLICE: Please fill in this 'theft report' and state what the film looked like and the serial numbers and we will send a fingerprint team around to your location as soon as they are available.

    AFACT: No no you don't understand, this is a digital file on the internet

    POLICE: Oh so they 'hacked' into your computers then? Sorry Sir that's a federal matter. here is the relevant phone numbers to contact. Good luck.

    AFACT. No No.. it wasn't hacked, they took it from a site overseas and have it illegally.

    POLICE: *slowly wondering if mental health should be called* Ok sir, well please fill in this information on who took it and when and what and we will investigate as soon as we can and if necessary will inform you when you need to be examined as a witness in a court.

    AFACT: quickly fills out form with an IP number and an ISP providers details.

    POLICE: Thank you sir.. Have a good day.. *takes form into muster room* "Oy anyone know what the hell these numbers mean where 'name of alleged offender' is??? I tried to ring them but nothing happens???.. Oh well.. the round filing cabinet it goes then"

    AFACT: waits... hears nothing.. gets annoyed.. blames anyone. talks to their masters in MPAA..heads explode!

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 1:04am

    Re: Re: Re:

    That probably happened.

     

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  15.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 1:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    pssst.. *whispers* it did!

    Afact even stated as much in court documents whinging about police etc

     

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  16.  
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    Richard (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 1:38am

    Re: The issue

    The real issue is that the Australian court decision didn't just remove liability from the ISP, it also effectively created a shield around their clients. The wording of that agreement is basically to say it's unacceptable to both grant immunity to the ISP and to allow them to block any move to find out who the end user is actually pirating the material.

    Nah - the real issue is that copyright is incompatible with the combination of modern technology and a fair and transparent legal system. In the end we either have to ditch copyright or give up on justice.

     

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  17.  
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    whatever, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 2:23am

    Re: Re: The issue

    har-har... big laugh here.

    What do you call it when an ISP won't divulge customer information without a warrant or court order, but that court order cannot be obtained until you file suit against someone specific?

    That's called a shield. It encourages people to operate anonymously, with the full knowledge that it's almost impossible to get them in front of the courts.

     

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  18.  
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    Seegras (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 4:57am

    Re: Re: Re: The issue

    If you think things like "due process" are something to laugh about, I'd recommend you to migrate to NORTH Korea.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 7:13am

    2 things you need to know regarding S Korea

    When the US of A sneezes S Korea gets a cold. They're just like Japan, only worse in this respect.

    And secondly, Korea makes and sells a lot of manga and anime that gets labelled as being product from say Disney, Bandai, Nickelodeon etc. When that stuff gets pirated by kids or adults they lose money.

    I don't doubt that Australia has a fairly big anime and manga market and the Koreans profits from this market are severely getting cut into.

     

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  20.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 10:25am

    Re: Re: Re: The issue

    Stop trying to conflate US ways of doing things with the rest of the democratic common law world.

    Look up Procedural Fairness (sometimes called natural justice) understand that processes NEED to be applied that don't just seem equitable but ARE equitable for ALL.


    It;s not a shield because that same process is for ALL criminal and civil structures under Australian law. You don't like it? Well don't fucking come here or preach to us your undemocratic capitalistic oligarchy based ideas then! Simple!

    Fucking idiot

     

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  21.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 2:44pm

    Re: Re: The issue

    Typically the market needs to exist before you need to protect it, so this protectionism is unlikely to be home-sourced.

    Ah, see there's your problem, you're applying that thing called 'logic' to the issue. To copyright maximalists, even if a product isn't available to be purchased in an area, should someone from that area pirate it they still count it as a 'lost sale', even though there was never going to be a sale in the first place.

     

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