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MPAA Wins: Australia To Carve Google And Facebook Out Of Its Expanded Safe Harbor Provisions

from the rights-for-only-some dept

Back in November, we discussed some reforms Australia was looking to make to its copyright laws. Chiefly at issue was how safe harbors were incorporated into the law, with those provisions applying only to primary service providers like ISPs due entirely to what appears to be a simple poor choice of words in the law. Under strict reading of the law as written, websites, libraries, and schools that allow internet users to create their own content and engage online would not be subject to safe harbor provisions, unlike the country's American counterpart. The government initially signaled that it wanted to harmonize its law with EU and American law, before the lobbying dollars of the entertainment industry sprung into action, causing the government to walk this back a bit.

And, now, it seems that all it took was some meager conversation between government officials and industry representatives for safe harbors to be yanked away from the usual MPAA targets.

Shortly after the government embarked on a detailed consultation with entertainment industry groups. They accuse platforms like YouTube of exploiting safe harbor provisions in the US and Europe, which forces copyright holders into an expensive battle to have infringing content taken down. They do not want that in Australia and at least for now, they appear to have achieved their aims.

According to a report from AFR, the Australian government is set to introduce new legislation Wednesday which will expand safe harbors for some organizations but will exclude companies such as Google, Facebook, and similar platforms.

What should be immediately obvious is the complete lack of logic for this type of move. Either safe harbor provisions should filter down from the primary ISPs or they shouldn't. Carving out exceptions to these important provisions, which serve primarily to increase expression and foster activity on the internet, strictly to some of the most popular platforms on that internet at the behest of movie-makers is the sort of thing that one struggles to describe as something other than purely the sale of national law to commercial interests. Oddly, the government has confirmed that safe harbor would apply to the afore-mentioned library, culture and archive spaces, just not to Google and Facebook, which arguably do as much as any other sites for culture and to archive information.

This action is also a useful data point for anyone to keep in mind when the entertainment industry discusses American and EU safe harbor provisions. It's clear by this involvement with the laws of a sovereign nation that those groups hate safe harbor laws and would like nothing more than to do away with them entirely. Let's all just keep that in mind whenever some mewing spokesperson for the entertainment industry wants to comment on our own safe harbor laws domestically.


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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Dec 2017 @ 9:36am

    Rights are for those who create, NOT leeches or "platforms".

    Let alone for pirates.

    You didn't read the handwriting on the wall, so all these billboards with 20-foot high letters come as a surprise.

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

  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 11 Dec 2017 @ 9:45am

    The government initially signaled that it wanted to harmonize its law with EU and American law, before the lobbying dollars of the entertainment industry sprung into action, causing the government to walk this back a bit.

    They'll look back on this and realize that they succeeded.

    Because EU and American lobbyists - and their owned and operated politicians - will harmonize with Australia. They'll quickly declare that excluding Google, Facebook and similar platforms from safe harbor provisions is the international standard.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 11 Dec 2017 @ 11:13am

      Re:

      Funny how 'harmonizing the law' only ever seems to work in one direction.

      'That other country has more restrictive copyright laws, we need to change our laws to match to provide for equal treatment.'

      'We can't change our laws to make them less restrictive, harmonization like that would be far too disruptive!'

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Dec 2017 @ 9:45am

    In the future, people are likely to look on copyright as having become the greatest destroyer of culture ever invented by mankind; assuming of course that the Internet or other means of letting creators self publish survive the assault of the legacy publishers.

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

  • identicon
    I.T. Guy, 11 Dec 2017 @ 10:20am

    Ya know, I dont for the life of me know why when this kind of shit gets pulled why Google and FB dont cut their services off from these countries for a day. Oops we had a malfunction that only affected Australia... wink wink.

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

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 11 Dec 2017 @ 10:37am

    Pull trigger, shoot foot

    When anyone in Australia suddenly gets the message, "Google/Facebook is unavailable in your region due to copyright", we'll see if this lasts.

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

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 11 Dec 2017 @ 10:44am

    Landmines..

    Landmines in an open arena..
    MORE money for Lawyers..

    THE RIGHTS of the corporation to DIG into a site, HARDER, BY LAW...and have more Rights then our own Government..

    Old trick on HOW to kill a business..
    Take them to Court, Back and forth, EVEN if you dont win, for EVERY LITTLE THING..
    All those books Google has copied for EVERYONE..is NOW compromised.
    NOW google and FB WILL BE REQUIRED to monitor every post BEFORE ITS PUBLISHED...

    Fight back?? MORE MONEY,, lost..
    Said above..
    REMOVE ALL GOOGLE SERVICES(that is allot)
    REMOVE FB..

    1,000,0000 people will get the EAR OF THE POLITICIANS...QUICKLY..

    My question:
    WHY is the MPAA/RIAA running around the world to gather EVERY BIT of Audio/Video??
    So that they can SUE you for having ANY...ANY audio video they can prove belongs TO THEM..
    Since the copyright wasnt created IN THE PAST..it was RECENT, even tho the music/video was created A LONG TIME AGO..

    these folks are as BAD as the academic Journals...That take the RIGHTS away from creators, JUST TO PUBLISH...

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Dec 2017 @ 10:51am

    Does Australia have owned and operated politicians. I thought that was a US thing?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Dec 2017 @ 11:44am

    Think of the billionaires, those poor, unfortunate billionaires.

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

  • identicon
    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 11 Dec 2017 @ 1:15pm

    Wouldn’t It Be Fun If ...

    ... the MPAA or RIAA got involved in some online service in future, and discovered that, thanks to such laws that they lobbied for, they were not eligible for such Safe Harbour protections?

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

  • identicon
    Kronomex, 11 Dec 2017 @ 1:37pm

    Well, it's obvious that Google, Facebook, and others haven't made big donations to the Loot Nabbing Party (LNP) here. They'll bend over and part their cheeks to be used as bike racks if the donations are big enough.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymoz coward, 11 Dec 2017 @ 5:06pm

    So this is what the government was hiding with the same-sex smokescreen.

    I knew there had to be something.

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

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 11 Dec 2017 @ 10:47pm

    "They accuse platforms like YouTube of exploiting safe harbor provisions in the US and Europe, which forces copyright holders into an expensive battle to have infringing content taken down."

    Let us unpack that...
    Content ID - They paid how much to create it?

    DMCA Notices - They send millions of faulty ones, cover no costs for verifying them.

    Money - They get paid for ads on their content & can claim other peoples work as their own & intercept cash they aren't entitled to.

    Control - Some of them have "special" channels to remove content ASAP not available to others.

    Court Costs - Da faq? They can claim your content is their's and you have to sue THEM to get it back online. They have a computer send an automated notice but individuals have to perfectly fill out confusing paperwork & face all sorts of insanity.
    The costs of the Viacom lawsuit don't get to be claimed, they sued YouTube over content Viacom put up!
    The "Dancing Baby" case, they don't get to claim those costs. The desire for control reached peak stupid when incidentally hearing content in the background (not clear enough to turn into pirated CD's sold on the streets) made them remove a baby dancing, seen by 10s of people. The law always defers to them so they got sued, because the law is unequal & benefits legal entities more than citizens.

    Australia - I make upside-down jokes, but are you people so very far removed from being 5 years behind the content the rest of the world has already seen, because the industry didn't give a shit about you kangaroo fondling idiots? Moving digital content didn't require shipping fleets avoiding sea monsters & dangerous seas... but they charge you a premium for old content.

    I suggest that perhaps it is time to start lobbing weaponized koalas at your leaders, that or drop them in the center of the continent and let them go walk about to think about how little the claims of the MPAA should matter to a country they ignored & now demand fealty from. While you don't want to be like the US, UK, EU, etc... that doesn't mean you should ignore that all of the things they are demanding were tried, failed, and later rejected by countries willing to look at the history of it failing over & over.

    I get it you live in a country where everything wants to kill you, but the MPAA doesn't want to kill you... they just want to bleed you slowly & have the rights to sell the video of your suffering.

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

  • identicon
    Bruce C., 12 Dec 2017 @ 3:45am

    Government regulations...

    Just another confirmation of my "one rule for understanding government": Every government regulation is due to a scam of some kind.

    Examples:
    1) Response to a real scam, like the establishment of the CFPB after the housing bubble/crash.
    2) Moral panic, where the scam is being run by a politician to get elected.
    3) Industry capture, where the scam is in the regulation itself.

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

  • identicon
    Tom Cruise, 12 Dec 2017 @ 10:20am

    MPAA always wins because they have Xenu on their side.

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


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