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Latest copyright & net neutrality news: Australian copyright reform, hyperlinks are legal, Comcast & TWC merger, Save the Internet

  • Copyright

Australian copyright reform has been keeping the headlines constantly for the past two weeks. Lifehacker put together a really informative piece on everything you need to know about the country’s copyright law reform. Also, read the recommendations made by the Australian Law Reform Commission. The short version is that Australia has a limiting fair use provision included in their current law and the legislators should take into consideration expanding this provision, taking on the US model. However, George Brandis, the minister of arts, states that he is not yet convinced that Australia needs a fair use clause and that this reform should not “come at the expense of our creative industries”. Here is an interesting study Brandis should read, “Remixers’ Understandings of Fair Use Online”, freshly baked by Georgia Tech.


Moreover, the discussions also revolved around a graduated response system which will force ISPs to crack down on their customers – to which the ISPs expressed their disapproval – although, the examples of France and US show such a measure is more annoying than efficient. Meanwhile, Australia’s trade agreement with South Korea, KAFTA, forced the latter to extend its copyright by 20 years; and the Australian BSA (Business Software Association) turns into a kind of Big Brother, offering Facebook users cash rewards if they report business that used unlicensed software, in an attempt to minimize software piracy which, they say, reached a peak in 2013.

In the context of EU‘s copyright reform public consultation (remember, the deadline is on the 5th of March), Australia’s reform can provide a good case study.

Image from Pixel Smashers
Image from Pixel Smashers

In other news: School of Open introduces a new course: Copyright 4 Educators;  NY Times journalist compares the public domain with some sort of film purgatory; in another article, John Walker argues that games should enter the public domain, but only “after a reasonable period of time, say 20 years“. His statement attracted several critiques, to which he offered a lengthy answer. This discussion is somewhat relevant for Nintendo, which let the fight against piracy to shape its business. And if you didn’t know it already, hyperlinks (linking to free copyrighted web content) is legal, at least in Europe. Canada is a haven for internet piracy, says pro-copyright group, and urges ISPs to disconnect repeat infringers.

  • Net Neutrality

Remember the Open Internet Preservation Act? Well, its backers now admit that it would have never passed the Congress, which basically makes the bill a PR stunt. Things couldn’t look more black for net neutrality, but wait: Comcast and Time Warner Cable announced their $45bn merge which is totally in the interest of the consumer. This probably more-dangerous-than-you-think merger is transforming net neutrality into a net capacity problem. FCC says it will continue to fight for net neutrality, but it could be Google and Netflix the ones to lead this fight. If you want out from all this madness, Gizmodo offers several ideas on how to ditch your ISP.

In Europe, the EU Parliament net neutrality negotiations are also taking a disastrous turn! So if you haven’t done it already, pick up the phone and call your MEP! Save the Internet!

Featured image is a derivative of Copocrisy & Dark Mario Vs Devil Kirby