The Pirate Party is critical of the Attorney-General’s Department’s recently released Online Copyright Infringement Discussion Paper, citing a number of concerns relating to the approach of the paper, its timing and the apparent influence of industry lobbyists.
Pirate Party President-elect, Brendan Molloy, commented: “The Discussion Paper makes a number of misleading assumptions and unsubstantiated claims, while failing to adequately address issues of affordability and accessibility. Instead of addressing the reality that Australians are paying more money for less content than other countries, the Discussion Paper is biased towards turning Internet service providers into ‘Internet police’ and censorship in the form of website blocking, neither of which have proven effective overseas.
“The Government has taken up the cause of the copyright industry lobbyists at an alarming speed. This issue was not on the Government’s agenda prior to the election, and it is only since February that the Attorney-General has given a clear indication of the Government’s direction on this issue. The Government wants Australian Internet service providers to police Australian citizens. Recent studies have shown this will be ineffective, and increased costs will be passed on to Australians consumers.
“While the Government pursues these unworkable approaches, important reforms have fallen by the wayside. We are yet to see movement on the IT Pricing Inquiry’s recommendations that would severely reduce the ‘Australia tax’ that sees Australians paying on average 50% more than the rest of the world for digital products. The Attorney-General quickly dismissed a recommendation by the Australian Law Reform Commission to introduce a form of fair use for copyrighted material in Australia. That report, at around 400 pages, took 18 months to produce, and involved several rounds of consultations.
“We are looking forward to tearing apart the Discussion Paper and hope that we and others can convince the Attorney-General’s Department to reconsider its approach.”
The Pirate Party encourages all interested individuals and organisations to make a submission on the Discussion Paper. It is also been running a petition against the introduction of graduated response schemes and website blocking in Australia, which concerned individuals can sign at https://www.change.org/en-AU/petitions/stop-blaming-consumers-for-the-outdated-business-models-of-the-media-industry