Last 10 days on the Internet: Australian anti-piracy measures, FCC net neutrality proposal leaked and it’s BAD

  • Copyright

In the beginning of this year, the Australian copyright reform was initiated after intense pressure from Hollywood. In July, a governmental discussion paper was leaked, showing Attorney-General George Bradis’ future plans on the subject: to force ISPs to take measures to prevent Australians from infringing copyright (sounds familiar even for us, non-Australians).

Now, 10 months after, things didn’t change for the better and one of the first legal changes has occurred: the administration has introduced a Data Retention Bill, although it is in violation of the human rights. Moreover, representatives have admitted that the data retained could be used by right holders to hunt down infringers. On the other hand, the Attorney-General denies this, saying the law will apply “only to crime and only to the highest levels of crime,” like terrorism, for example, and that copyright infringement is a civil wrong and, thus, it has nothing to do with the new provision. Except this isn’t quite so, as EFF and Dr Matthew Rimmer, associate professor at the Australian National University College of Law, point out:

[pull_quote_center] Australian copyright law has long had criminal offences associated with it.[/pull_quote_center]

And wasn’t that MPAA’s Jack Valenti who actually compared online piracy with terrorism?

On the bright side, Australian media distribution company, Village Roadshow Entertainment, is taking its own measures against copyright infringement focusing more on what the consumer wants and offering some titles 20% cheaper. Furthermore, Netflix announced that will come to Australia starting 2015, which has big chances to “destroy” the country’s entertainment monopoly. These are two good news, not only for the consumer, but even for Australian indie cinema which is the most affected by piracy, as this study shows.

On the other side of the planet, European Union has its own copyright reform discussion and a new Digital Commissioner, Günther Oettinger, who has a new reform timetable and new crazy ideas about it.

  • Net Neutrality

The case of US’s net neutrality law seems similar (remember the Netflix connection war?), since it has been under discussion for almost a year now and the new leaked FCC proposal is BAD. It “would expand the FCC’s powers to regulate broadband while also allowing a carve out for cable providers to charge more money for fast lanes”, despite an overwhelming 3.7 million comments against such a measure, which where sent to FCC earlier this year. The commission is accused of not listening to the public, and for good reason!Now, ISPs, including Verizon, are threatening to sue the FCC if it will adopt the leaked model.

Other bad news are: the possible Republican takeover of the US Senate which will impact negatively both net neutrality and anti-piracy legislation (remeber the TPP?); MPAA is adding net neutrality to its agenda against piracy, in an effort to assure that its efforts aren’t hindered by the future legislation.

We’re in the battle for the net, as Cory Doctorow wrote last week, urging us to join the emergency protests against the new FCC proposal organized all over US by Fight for the Future and other digital rights organizations. Now it’s time to put more pressure on the White House by giving them a call and tell Obama to save the Internet. Here is how!

For more of the last week’s Internet news, don’t forget to read Copy-me’s Short Copy full edition below.