Stilgherrian has been covering the iiNet trial for Crikey (good job, Stil), and wrote yesterday about Conroy’s rather worrying remarks on the subject indicating that the ISPs and entertainment industry should get together and sort out a way to solve this problem.
This makes some sense if the two parties get together and and discuss a new business model that brings entertainment to Internet users in a way that is convenient and fairly priced, or even if it allowed users to opt-in to a revenue sharing deal that legitimised peer-to-peer file sharing. It seems highly unlikely, though, that the copyright lobby will suddenly wake up and smell the reality. Instead, if they get together with ISPs at all, it will be to find a way to spy on users and shut down Bittorrent any way they can. They will wield the cudgel of legal action without restraint.
This is apparently what the Minister has in mind; his sympathies are clearly with the content industry. A “three-strikes” law which would kick people off the Internet for file sharing after three allegations from copyright holders looms as a real possibility in Australia’s future. Such a law would clearly be aimed squarely at ordinary Australians and would be for the benefit of largely American corporations, and yet our elected representatives see this as a legitimate policy tool in the “war” against piracy. “Whose side are they on?” I ask.
That’s why I found the following letter to Crikey (in response to Stilgherrian’s article) to be spot on. My hat goes off to Ian (whoever you are). I hope if this debate intensifies that more Australians ask the same questions.
Ian Farquhar writes: Re. “Conroy tells movie industry, ISPs to kiss and make up” (yesterday, item 18). In Stilgherrian’s item yesterday, he quoted Senator Stephen Conroy, who said: “What I would still hope is that we can bring them together to sit down and settle their differences, create a code of practice that actually protects both parties.”
Did anyone notice a missing party? Shouldn’t Conroy’s first and overriding priority being the protection of Australian citizens over the corporate interests from the ISPs or the copyright industry?
Let’s face it, Conroy bangs on endlessly about protecting people. Clearly he’s only interested in protecting them from porn, but is quite happy to encourage cartel behaviour between the telecommunication industry and copyright monopolists which, based on historical precedent, always end up abusing citizens.
Again, I’m back to wondering if that department routinely lobotomises any minister who enters the place.