Pirate Party Opposes AFACT’s Extortion Tactics

Pirate Party Australia is opposed to the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft’s (AFACT) latest offensive against Australian internet users[1]. They have demanded that ISPs attend ‘voluntary talks’ to implement a graduated response regime (commonly known as 3 Strikes) before the conclusion of the iiNet trial or face “unspecified legal action”.

AFACT’s alleged extreme demands would require ISPs to notify their customers of infringements as alleged by AFACT and disconnect them if they do not respond within 7 days.

“These veiled threats are nothing more than intimidation tactics that once again clearly display the extent that Big Media will go to in their failing attempts to protect their flawed business models. Extortion is a new low even for AFACT.” said Acting Secretary, Brendan Molloy.

“It is completely inappropriate to have closed-room discussions even before the iiNet court case has concluded, and even more inappropriate to make veiled threats to begin yet another court case for not attending these ‘voluntary talks’.”

Pirate Party Australia condemns this blatant example of legal strong-arm tactics, a reflection of the corruption and desperation at the heart of an industry that is refusing to embrace reality. ISPs have no obligations to take any action over unproven allegations of infringement by AFACT, especially in light of the actions of corporations such as ACS:Law and RIAA which accuses innocents of infringement in order to extort legal settlement fees[2][3][4][5].

AFACT itself is known for sending legal threats based on nothing more than a recorded IP address[6][7][8][9]. This practice blatantly ignores the realities of the average household, where the Internet connection is shared by parents, children, families and friends. Given the prevalance of home offices and work-at-home parents, if AFACT’s scheme were to be implemented, families could see their livelihood taken away when any person commits an act of copyright infringement using their home connection, proven or otherwise.

“There will not be a graduated response regime implemented in Australia without a fight, that’s for sure. People need to make their voices heard on the issue, and make it clear to AFACT and Big Media that Australians will not be persecuted and extorted for the sake of protection of flawed business models of large corporations,” said Molloy.

“While countries such as Finland move to make Internet access a legal right[10], copyright lobbyists would love nothing more than to continue their battle to stifle our access by pressuring our Governments to implement graduated response regimes[11][12] and Internet censorship[13]. It’s despicable and needs to be stopped.”

Pirate Party Australia urges Australian ISPs to unite against AFACT and avoid becoming the enforcement arm of AFACT at the expense of their users and themselves, and reminds ISPs that they are not beholden to AFACT any more than Australia Post or any other carrier service.

[1] http://torrentfreak.com/graduated-piracy-response-coming-to-australia-or-else-110711/
[2] http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/blog/2010/oct/01/acslaw-filesharing-accused
[3] http://arstechnica.com/old/content/2005/02/4587.ars
[4] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/3140160.stm
[5] http://arstechnica.com/old/content/2006/04/6662.ars
[6] http://img94.imageshack.us/img94/3484/img0879qr.jpg
[7] http://img574.imageshack.us/img574/1291/img0880o.jpg
[8] http://img189.imageshack.us/img189/2210/img08810.jpg
[9] http://img46.imageshack.us/img46/5535/img08820.jpg
[10] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10461048
[11] http://www.pcworld.com/article/235261/isps_fight_piracy_meet_the_six_strikes.html
[12] http://www.itnews.com.au/News/150133,conroy-vows-to-tackle-illegal-file-sharing.aspx
[13] http://torrentfreak.com/the-copyright-lobby-absolutely-loves-child-pornography-110709/