Brandis calls for solution to non-problem: file sharing

The Australian reported today that Attorney-General George Brandis has sent letters to copyright holders and ISPs to organise discussions on the best way to stop file sharing. The article suggests plans are afoot to create a censorship regime to block sites that enable file sharing[1].

Pirate Party Australia condemns any plan to install a censorship regime, whether it is to block ‘objectionable content’ (as attempted by the previous government) or to block access to websites that may include unauthorised copyrighted material.

“Yet again we are faced with a government that is an enemy of the Internet,” commented Simon Frew, President of Pirate Party Australia. “Previous Attorney-Generals organised secret meetings between ISPs and the copyright lobby, deliberately excluding consumers, and now history repeats. We demand that any consultation about the future of the Internet be conducted transparently and include competent and trusted representatives of the community, not just vested interests.”

“File sharing is not the problem that needs solving,” said Brendan Molloy, Councillor of Pirate Party Australia. “Graduated response regimes[2][3] and censorship mechanisms[4] have been proven time and time again to fail to have an impact on file sharing. What has been proven to lower file sharing is convenient, affordable access to content, which is still lacking in Australia. This market access issue, as well as geocodes and other anachronisms of the Copyright Act, are the problems that needs solving, not file sharing.”

Graduated response regimes that result in disconnection from the Internet (better known as “three strikes” schemes) are shown to have limited to no impact on file sharing. Censorship regimes like the proposal being floated by the Attorney-General are circumventable within seconds.

“The Internet sees censorship as damage and routes around it. Work with your fans, not against them,” Mr Molloy concluded.