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.

Filed Under: australia, copyright, george brandis, site blocking, sopa


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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    antidirt (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 8:19am

    OMG, SOPA WILL BREAK THE INTERNET!!!

    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?

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

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 8:47am

    With those e-mails that leaked from Sony Pictures where the MAFIAA was directly bribing Hood to be their obedient puppy one has to wonder if it is not the case here. If there's a Sony Pictures subsidiary in Australia that would be a good starting point, eh? *winks at Anonymous*

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

    • identicon
      wotnotnow, 17 Mar 2015 @ 8:32pm

      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.

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

      • icon
        tqk (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 9:21pm

        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.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Mar 2015 @ 2:19pm

        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.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 19 Mar 2015 @ 2:35pm

          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.

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

        • identicon
          wotnotnow, 22 Mar 2015 @ 1:14am

          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.

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

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 10:50am

    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.

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

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 9:35pm

      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.

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

      • identicon
        Pragmatic, 18 Mar 2015 @ 7:19am

        Re: Re: Movies from Spain

        Oh! Oh! Oh! Ooooh, yeeeeaaaahhhhh!!!

        Is that okay for you, tqk? ;P

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

      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 18 Mar 2015 @ 11:15am

        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.

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

    • identicon
      Reality bites, 18 Mar 2015 @ 5:51am

      Sadly Aussie's are pussies, they just roll over

      Their national position is bend over and grab their ankles without a whimper.

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

  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 10:57am

    Trolling George Brandis

    Electrical service is just as necessary and enabling to pirates as internet service.

    We should suggest to Mr. Brandis that power utilities should be required to prevent their service from being used for piracy.

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 10:58am

    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

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

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 11:08am

      Re: Funny that

      The maximalists are corporate interests, only interested in expanding their profit margin, incapable of seeing the long-term and fearing for any disruption to their business model.

      So yes, they're always going to expand IP rights even if it means the halting of progress.

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

      • identicon
        Pragmatic, 18 Mar 2015 @ 7:22am

        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...

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

        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 18 Mar 2015 @ 11:18am

          If only someone WOULD think of the children.

          Because they don't when school faculty seek out undressing girls to spy on from their school-issued laptop cameras.

          This isn't an incident or two, but nowadays yet another unspoken perk for working at the school.

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

  • icon
    Spaceman Spiff (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 11:02am

    Just how long?

    And just how long will it be after this ill-considered legislation passes that Brandis resigns as AG of Australia and takes a cushy position with the entertainment industry?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2015 @ 11:10am

    Copyright maximalists & Spying maximalists:

    Strange, but constant bedfellows.

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

  • icon
    tqk (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 11:15am

    Just farm it out to the Chinese.

    I'm sure they'd be happy to add Australia to the firewall client list.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2015 @ 4:53pm

      Re: Just farm it out to the Chinese.

      Great plan if you trust China to provide national security. I would look at their human rights record before allowing unfettered access to my communications.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2015 @ 12:22pm

    Feeding the troll...

    Surprised nobody simply linked the category:
    https://www.techdirt.com/blog/?tag=sopa

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

  • identicon
    Kronomex, 17 Mar 2015 @ 2:50pm

    George "Insert Corporate Brand Name Here" Brandis is a right wing fanatic deep in the pockets of Hollywood and other bloodsucking corporations. The problem is that once this maniac is removed at the next election will, and it will probably be Labor (LNP Lite), the laws be changed? Simple answer: NO.

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

    • identicon
      wotnotnow, 17 Mar 2015 @ 8:35pm

      Re:

      Agreed, for the public outcry by the opposition parties, they want this as much as the current government.

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

      • identicon
        Pragmatic, 18 Mar 2015 @ 7:24am

        Re: Re:

        Vote Pirate or Green, end of problem.

        The Greens have actually been pretty good on privacy.

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

        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 18 Mar 2015 @ 11:20am

          "Go ahead! Throw your vote away."

          Maybe Australia fixed the first-past-the-post problem. Here in the US we haven't, so it's always Kang or Kodos.

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

          • identicon
            Pragmatic, 19 Mar 2015 @ 3:46am

            Re: "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.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 17 May 2015 @ 6:08pm

            Re: "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).

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

  • icon
    jameshogg (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 3:13pm

    The best reason to opposite site blocking is the best one: it can't work.

    Though if I were a foreign VPN/proxy website with lots of money to make, I'd do everything I can to make this law pass.

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

  • icon
    Padpaw (profile), 17 Mar 2015 @ 5:19pm

    how is he profiting from it then? This is a man who only does things that get him a hefty amount of money or personal power.

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


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