Telecommunications Industry body, Communications Alliance (CommsAlliance), along with five of Australia’s biggest ISPs have put forward a scheme to fight online content piracy.
The five ISPs involved are Telstra BigPond, iiNet, Optus, iPrimus and Internode. AAPT, Ericsson Australia and the Internet Industry Association (IIA) were listed as contributors.
The scheme stems from meetings between ISPs and content owners – or rights holders – as mentioned by CommsAlliance CEO, John Stanton, last month. Representatives from the music, movies, software and video games industry were involved in the discussions.
Called the Notice Scheme, it has an emphasis on education consumers. It would require ISPs to forward education and warning notices to customers allegedly engaged in content piracy provided evidence of infringement is provided by content owners.
ISPs are not required to terminate customer connections or demand payment from alleged infringers under the proposed arrangement. Customers also have the right to appeal infringement notices.
This system is cost-effective and can be rapidly deployed, according to CommsAlliance.
The Notice Scheme would be trialled by ISPs for 18 months and would be followed by an independent evaluation to determine the efficacy in terms of changing consumer behaviour.
CommsAlliance stressed the scheme is not set in stone and the proposal will require further consultation with content holders, consumer representatives, the Federal Government and the rest of the ISP sector.
“We believe the Notice Scheme can greatly reduce online copyright infringement in Australia, while protecting consumer rights, educating consumers about how to access legal online content and helping Rights Holders to protect their rights,” Stanton said in a statement.
“Equally important is the need for rights holders to ensure that consumers have access to legal and affordable content online, to reduce the motivation to source content in ways that might be illegal.”
There are still some issues to resolve including the possible creation of an industry panel that would supply educational material to ISP customers that receive infringement notices.
The proposal was accompanies by a discussion paper which delves further into the concerns over online copyright infringement.
One of the ISPs involved in the Notice Scheme proposal, iiNet, was taken to court by the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) over movie piracy of its subscribers.
AFACT has since lost twice in the Federal Court and the Full Federal Court, respectively, but has appealed to the High Court. The hearing is set to occur in early December.