Three Strikes System In Australia 'Too Costly' For Industry; Seems Piracy Not Such A Massive Problem After All

from the kangaroo-courts dept

It was evident when the "three strikes" or "graduated response" was first proposed in France back in 2009 that it was a really bad idea. After all, in its crudest form, it cuts people off from what has become a necessity for modern life -- the Internet -- simply because they are accused of copyright infringement, an area of law that is notoriously full of uncertainties. Given that inauspicious start, it's no surprise that over the years, the three strikes system has failed everywhere, with some of the early adopters either dropping it, or putting it on hold. No wonder, then, that a latecomer, Australia, is also having problems with implementing the approach, as this report from c|net makes clear:

A three strikes scheme to track down individual pirates and send them warning letters about their downloading habits has been all but quashed, after rights holders and ISPs decided that manually targeting and contacting downloaders would be too costly.
However, as in the US, where the "six strikes" scheme is also flailing, the Australian copyright industry has no intention of seizing this opportunity to move on from this punitive approach. Instead, it wants to make it worse by automating the process. Village Roadshow Co-CEO Graham Burke, who Techdirt wrote about back in 2014, is quoted as saying:
"When automation occurs, instead of costing AU$16 or AU$20 a notice [about US$12 or US$15], which is just prohibitive, it will cost cents per notice," he said. "In other words, the ISPs will have an automated system that can be done simply, as opposed to at the moment it's manual."
Of course, an automated system is likely to be plagued by false positives even more than one operated by humans. The much lower cost involved -- cents rather than dollars per letter -- means that there will be no economic incentive to check for these in order to keep the numbers down, which are likely to balloon as a result. In other words, it seems clear that the three strikes system in Australia is about to get much worse -- and it was bad to begin with.

But there is one piece of positive news to emerge from this story. The Australian copyright industry says that it is not worth pursuing alleged copyright infringement cases unless the three strikes system costs almost nothing to use. Clearly, then, the real scale of the losses caused by online piracy is nowhere near as great as companies love to claim, otherwise basic economics would push them to use even a manual system. That's yet another reason to get rid of the flawed and disproportionate graduated response.

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  • icon
    TheResidentSkeptic (profile), 22 Feb 2016 @ 5:45am

    FTFY

    The Australian copyright industry says that it is not worth pursuing alleged copyright infringement cases unless the three strikes system costs THEM nothing to use.

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 22 Feb 2016 @ 7:29am

    How about a trade?

    They can automate filing strike claims if every false claim is punished to the tune of 200% of costs incurred to fight it, plus $500 or the equivalent.

    If they believe that the number of 'mistaken' claims will be minimal, then the penalty won't be a problem, as I'm sure they will do everything in their power, making every effort to make sure that they have the right person before sending out a claim, and would never throw accuracy to the wind and operate on the 'send enough claims and at least some of them will hit the right people' mindset.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2016 @ 8:41am

      Re: How about a trade?

      Unfortunately, the industry is notorious for creative accounting. Somehow, they'll find a way to get the victims to pay their 200% + $500 fee.

      "It cost us $ -1500 to track you down. You're innocent, so that'll be $3500, please!"

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

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 22 Feb 2016 @ 9:00am

      Re: How about a trade?

      Well, it all depends. The industry seems to work with imaginary numbers (or complex numbers if you will) for their losses accounting. Are those 500 dollars multiplied by i as well?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2016 @ 10:09am

    it's a bigger reason that actually then shows exactly that the industries claims are total bullshit! it also proves that the aim is not to stop 'piracy' but to get control of the best distribution medium so far invented, the Internet. if the industries do manage to get the control they want, and they are getting nearer and nearer every day, the internet will be nothing like it is today, with every company having to pay to use it and every product or service having to be vetted by Hollywood etc before it's even allowed to have a website!!

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

  • identicon
    Median Wilfred, 22 Feb 2016 @ 10:28am

    Where's that pro-copyright troll?

    Wait a minute! If The Masnickator had written this fact-based article, that one troll who always posts anonymously, would have shown up and tried to derail the comments. When Glynn Moody posts, the anoymous troll never bothers to comment. I bet Moody isn't covered in the troll's contract, and since said troll is pretty obviously a lawyer (or used to be a lawyer), he sticks to the terms of his contract, and ignores Glynn Moody.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2016 @ 4:39pm

      Re: Where's that pro-copyright troll?

      Give them time. At least one of antidirt, Anonymous64 or Whatever will show up.

      If they don't, they're probably consoling themselves by having a daisy chain with each other.

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

  • identicon
    Chris Brand, 22 Feb 2016 @ 10:29am

    Mathematics

    So three strikes at AU$20 per notice is not worth doing ? Doesn't that mean that the industry believes that the average copyright infringer costs them less than AU$60 ? That should be useful for anyone sued by them.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2016 @ 10:32am

    Automated notice will inflate the piracy figures and the imaginary damages by a factor of several thousand. That will allow the RIAA to claim that they need to be able to control the Internet.

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

  • identicon
    An-other-onymous, 22 Feb 2016 @ 10:38am

    Accounting

    Just charge it to the artist as a cost of doing business, like marketing, studio fees ... bonus to the company if there's actually any money received.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2016 @ 10:48am

    The copyright monopoly doesn't want to pay for three strikes system. I guess that makes them pirates.

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

  • icon
    william (profile), 22 Feb 2016 @ 1:30pm

    basically if the total cost of investigating a infringement case is 20, and now it's costing $19 to the industry and $1 to the customer, they want to flip it to cost $0.01 for industry and $19.99 for the customers and ISPs (but mostly customers since they are the one fighting the false positives)

    Classic industry move to try to move the cost to externality.

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

  • identicon
    Peter, 22 Feb 2016 @ 2:18pm

    cents per notice is crap

    The fact that a stamp to send a letter costs $1, means the industry statement of cents per letter is total rubbish.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2016 @ 5:05pm

    Actually, Hollywood already solved their piracy problem in a way that only they could.

    They stopped making movies that people would bother watching even for free.

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

  • identicon
    Kronomex, 22 Feb 2016 @ 10:29pm

    Purely and simply,Village Roadshow and their ilk were all fine with the idea of the three strikes rubbish until they found out they were expected to, gasp, shock, horror, use their money to help with the costs.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Feb 2016 @ 8:27pm

      Re:

      They're not paying millions to political parties to have to pay more money on actually enforcing their 'rights of ownership', that's for others to pay.

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


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