Australia Passes Its Own SOPA, Ignores All Concerns About It

from the because-of-course dept

As was widely expected after getting the greenlight to move forward with the bill, the Australian palirament has now approved its version of SOPA, allowing courts to issue censorship orders to block entire foreign websites outright, with no real recourse. The few Senators who pointed out how problematic this would be appear to have been totally ignored. Scott Ludlam pointed out that this approach was both lazy and dangerous while Senator David Leyonhjelm (from a different party than Ludlam) succinctly explained the problems with the bill:
He notes that it's "vaguely drafted and unlikely to achieve its aims." Furthermore, he notes that it "aims to protect rightsholders at everyone else's expense." As he points out, that's not what Parliament is supposed to be doing. He further highlights how ridiculous it is that Australia has no fair use -- and to pass stronger enforcement without fixing the problems of Australian copyright law hinders free expression and public use is really ridiculous.

Making matters worse, as Crikey points out, those pushing in favor of the bill were using industry supplied numbers on the economic "losses" of piracy that were so ridiculous as to be literally unbelievable, and yet no one really paid attention. Specifically, it attacks the claims made that piracy is costing the movie industry 6,000 jobs per year, which is pretty bizarre for an industry that only employs about 30,000. But, making matters even worse, the number of jobs in the industry... has been going up, not down:
In the last two years, movie and sound recording has employed, on average, 27,100. The two years before that, it employed on average 27,600. So, decline? Well, the two years before that — 2009-11 — was employment of 26,600. And over 2007-09 it was 25,200; between 2005 and 2007, some 24,700 worked in the industry.

Employment in that sector allegedly being smashed by piracy is increasing — not uniformly, but substantially. At the end of the 1990s (when George Lucas was making Star Wars here) the industry barely employed 20,000 people. In the mid-1990s, the sub-division employed 13,000 — less than half of its current level.
There's more in that report that highlights how the numbers supporters of the bill were using simply don't pass the simplest laugh test. But, alas, Hollywood still gets the last laugh, because the politicians passed it anyway. They'll quickly discover that it won't put a dent in any copyright infringement. Nor will it create new jobs in Australia -- except perhaps for VPN vendors. But there's a decent likelihood that it will lead to less innovation, fewer new services and perfectly legitimate sites getting blocked.

To be honest, the haste with which this bill has moved through the Australian Parliament is exactly how the entertainment industry expected the original SOPA to cruise through Congress. It was only because so many Americans spoke out against it that it was stopped. It's too bad that not enough Australians did the same Down Under.

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  • icon
    Shadow Dragon (profile), 23 Jun 2015 @ 4:37am

    hmmm

    I wouldn't be surprised if if it backfires on the MAFFIA.not mentioning if they think Sony hacks are bad,there could be bigger hacking scandal that make all of them look minor by comparison.Then maybe Maffia will learn to adapt to the ever-changing technology.Vut this is nearly another nail in Hollywood coffin.

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

  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 23 Jun 2015 @ 4:38am

    "It was only because so many Americans spoke out against it that it was stopped. It's too bad that not enough Australians did the same Down Under."

    That's unfortunately by design, IMHO. The issue is that a lot of the services used every day by people globally are either based in the US or run by companies with major US investment. The outcry against SOPA was international - but it was loud opposition by sites like Google and Wikipedia that got the word out to people. The number of Americans speaking out was because people were afraid they could not access these sites if SOPA were to pass. It wasn't because they truly understood the implications on a technological and innovation level.

    Here, unfortunately, there's no such international collection of websites based in Australia (to my knowledge, anyway). I'm sure some made their opposition known, but without the big name push the word didn't get out as effectively. On top of that, I'm sure that certain Australian-run media interests were doing their best to roll out lies and FUD about the issue to ensure that Australians wouldn't hear the news until it was too late.

    This, sadly, is what they want. Messing with US-based technology companies has proven ineffective, so they're going to mess with smaller countries first where they get to attack them with far less opposition. If the fears stated by opposition don't come to pass, they'll use that as ammo in their next attempt to pass SOPA in the US. If they're proven correct, hey, it's only Australia so who cares? That is sadly their mindset, I think.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Jun 2015 @ 6:40pm

      Re:

      Rupert Murdoch controls 85% of the newspapers in Australia. His sons own up to the 15% limit in radio & Free to Air TV stations. He also owns our Prime Minister's arse, soul & nuts which he squeezes every now & again to make sure Tony Abbott, or Captain Clownshoes is paying attention.

      The radio & TV breakfast/24hr news channels can't come up with anything original to talk about so they run with whatever the News Corps National paper & their Sydney flagship paper has on their front page for the day.

      In Australia all the other main media outlets are all owned or run by members of the current Liberal National Party Federal government (right wing/pro big business). So any opposition to what the rich & powerful desire is simply not published/aired, lest the citizens make up their minds in a way that is detrimental to their excessive wealth creation plans.

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

  • identicon
    Nobby, 23 Jun 2015 @ 4:47am

    The big difference is, American politicians in the end listen to the voters - Australian politicians, on both sides of the major parties, could not care less about Australians, they bend over backwards to accomodate international interests, like hollywood, but stare down at its own population.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jun 2015 @ 5:45am

    What's SOPA?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Jun 2015 @ 6:11am

      Re:

      Tous starter for 10 on Wikipedia Stop Online Piracy Act.
      P.S. Wikipedia has a search capability, as does Techdirt, they are useful for terms and abbreviations that you are unfamiliar with, the Wikipedia article cam up with the search term "SOPA".

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

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 23 Jun 2015 @ 6:15am

        Re: Re:

        I don't understand. Why aaaaare you mad about pirate sites being blocked

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

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 23 Jun 2015 @ 6:48am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Hey, you were given a link to help you start to educate yourself. Do you want to educate yourself on the actual arguments against SOPA now, or are you one of those pathetic tools who gets their entertainment from derailing honest discussions with fictional strawmen?

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 23 Jun 2015 @ 7:10am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I am much more concerned with the lack of due process that SOPA enables. When an industry can block any site it nominate as a pirate site, they will use that power "by accident" to also block sites that compete with the industry. As all my entertainment now comes from such sites, I have a very good reason to be mad with bill that threaten my legal activities.

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

        • icon
          DannyB (profile), 23 Jun 2015 @ 8:16am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I'm mad about non-pirate sites being blocked.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 23 Jun 2015 @ 11:46am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Like which ones have been blocked

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 23 Jun 2015 @ 6:47pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Last time Australia tried to implement online censorship, it tagged a dentist in Queensland for no apparent reason. It was to do with CP rather than piracy, but I have no doubt the exact same thing is about to happen now.

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

        • icon
          nasch (profile), 23 Jun 2015 @ 10:42am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I don't understand. Why aaaaare you mad about pirate sites being blocked

          Voted funny.

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

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 23 Jun 2015 @ 10:22am

      Re:

      What's SOPA?

      We have someone toting up all the obscenities the writers use, we have a regular funniest and most insightful collation.

      I nominate this as the inaugural stupidest comment of the week, and it's only Tuesday. I'll put money on it winning.

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

  • identicon
    Paul Clark, 23 Jun 2015 @ 5:47am

    What About Australia's Obligations Under Trade Treaties

    I see some very bad consequences for Australia under their trade treaty obligations.

    Lets say I start a service to provide cloud file storage. Someone uploads copyright material to it. The site get banned by SOPA. I file a complaint under a trade treaty for a few hundred million dollars for lost business.

    Does Australia have to start paying out millions of dollars for the privilege of having SOPA?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Jun 2015 @ 5:52am

      Re: What About Australia's Obligations Under Trade Treaties

      "Does Australia have to start paying out millions of dollars for the privilege of having SOPA?"

      It's only tax dollars. Plenty more where those came from.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Jun 2015 @ 7:38am

      Re: What About Australia's Obligations Under Trade Treaties

      "Lets say I start a service to provide cloud file storage. Someone uploads copyright material to it. The site get banned by SOPA. I file a complaint under a trade treaty for a few hundred million dollars for lost business."

      You will most likely get the US filing for both criminal and civil cases against you where you will have all your assets seized and confiscated whilst facing upwards of 80 years in prison for criminal copyright infringement as per Megaupload even if what the company did was fully compliant to the law.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Jun 2015 @ 4:30pm

      Re: What About Australia's Obligations Under Trade Treaties

      Actually, there's the theory floating around that a lot of the current crop of stupid copyright bills going through the Australian parliament are basically implementing the various trade deal's provisions.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jun 2015 @ 5:54am

    "It's too bad that not enough Australians did the same Down Under."

    It wouldn't matter. The main determinant was that Rupert Murdoch wanted it and he owns most of the media in the country. The "two" main parties must obey his will otherwise he will turn the >50% ass-ignorant proportion of the public against them. The government also demolished our national broadband network for the same reason.

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

    • icon
      Shadow Dragon (profile), 23 Jun 2015 @ 6:15am

      Re:

      Remember He going to turn over soon. He probably will be like Franco.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Jun 2015 @ 12:42pm

      Re:

      pssh Rupert Murdoch owns the two main parties lock stock and barrel.
      Every single politician IN both parties has taken millions in illegal bribes.

      Hopefully there will be a leak somewhere and expose exactly where each piece of crap put his take.

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

  • icon
    Ehud Gavron (profile), 23 Jun 2015 @ 7:30am

    typo

    palirament --> parliament

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jun 2015 @ 9:07am

    someone is setting themselves up for a dictatorship

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Jun 2015 @ 6:52pm

      Re:

      We are now having attacks on free speech on the National publicly funded broadcaster & direct threats being made that their funding will be cut unless they broadcast material that shows off the current fascist government in a good light.

      Everything this current Far Right Wing government has done since lying to get in in Sept 2014 has been to destroy anything that has any social benefit at all. Also to destroy the unions, they have decided to destroy entire industries or have Royal Commissions into them to bankrupt the unions so that the only viable political opposition party, the Labor Party is underfunded & becomes no opposition to the continuing rule of the Liberal National Party.

      Then there is the constant ramping up of the imagined terrorist threat so now we have had our rights taken away, security services funded by extra billions of dollars, yet we are still more unsecure than ever before. All this theatre just to keep the current government in power.

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

  • icon
    Jeremy Lyman (profile), 23 Jun 2015 @ 11:17am

    Bottoming out

    The only way to get Copyright reform is to make it completely unlivable first?

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

  • identicon
    Aussie coward, 23 Jun 2015 @ 8:27pm

    Its funny, this debate has played out down here over a couple of years.
    The current government was voted in with a platform of not doing this.
    The communications minister keeps telling everyone about vpns.
    All the politicians follow up their statements saying "industry... You can't ask Australians to pay double what the rest of the world does and expect this not to happen". (Which is the main problem living in a country with no land borders for goods to leak across when prices are too high)
    It's very tempting to read between the lines and interpret all this as the government saying:
    Look guys, we've got this problem. There's this stat floating around that's says highest per capita piracy. So, yay for not paying for that garbage and helping our balance of trade, but it means the MPIA is bugging US gov, which means they bug us. And MPIA might off-shore some jobs. (No where near what you guy do for the economy, but enough to cause us some grief)
    Do us a favor and make it look like your in another country. Even better make it look like your in the U.S. so they can chase their own tail.
    We'll give you a year's notice... But then we'll have to let them make an example of who ever is left.
    Loving regards
    Your government...

    Or something like that.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jun 2015 @ 9:13pm

    Down Under, we expect our governments to lying, corrupt and to not give a shit to the population that 'voted' them in. We are proved correct every election. The government exists only to further exploit this country and its people.

    Why don't we demand change? Because we've given up. We know nothing will ever change. You only have to look at some electorates having over 30% of registered voters not voting - despite a $50 fine.

    If that doesn't indicate that us Aussies don't give a shit about our government, nothing will.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jun 2015 @ 12:31am

    "They'll quickly discover..."
    The only discovery here will be that those politicians are getting paid by Hollywood, which is alredy obvious to a lot of people.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jun 2015 @ 10:31am

    The current internet is doomed by those in power.

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


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