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Government paves the way for disconnections and an internet filter

Consumers face harsh penalties with no solution to high cost of content

10 December 2014


CHOICE says the Federal Government’s internet piracy crackdown opens the door for harsh consumer penalties while ignoring the biggest drivers of online infringement.                     

“Outsourcing the piracy crackdown to industry is far from a soft option, because it carries the potential for serious sanctions against consumers including internet disconnection,” says CHOICE CEO Alan Kirkland.

 “And it’s far from an effective option, because it ignores the two biggest reasons Australians infringe online copyright – price and availability.”

CHOICE says the three key concerns for consumers from today’s announcement are:
  • Opening the way for the content industry to target consumers with disproportionate penalties, such as internet disconnection, potentially based on flimsy evidence.
  • Increasing costs of all internet users, not just pirates.
  • Creating an industry-run internet filter to block ‘offending’ websites.
“We know that internet filters don’t work. This approach has been called ineffective and disproportionate by courts overseas, and it risks raising internet costs for everyone,” Mr Kirkland says.

“The Federal Government claims this is the least burdensome option. We can’t see how regulating the internet in Australia, introducing a nation-wide notice scheme and an industry-run internet filter isn’t burdensome.”

“Australian consumers want to be able to purchase content at a reasonable price, at the same time as the rest of the world. Introducing draconian policies and cutting off internet access is not the way to fix the problem.”

CHOICE, as a content creator, does not support or condone piracy. It has used its submission to the Competition Policy Review Draft Report to support key recommendations that would reduce piracy by facilitating cheaper content for Australians. This includes by enabling more consumers to take legal steps to circumvent geoblocks.

CHOICE’s online petition calling for an effective response to piracy is at www.choice.good.do

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