Alliance calls for ISP controls

The Business Software Alliance wants the legal right to force Australian ISPs to stop hosting content it deems to have infringed on intellectual property rights under the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the US.

The Alliance’s Asia-Pacific vice-president and regional director, Jeff Hardee, said the vendor lobby group hoped the FTA would provide a legal means of recourse against ISPs which allowed pirated content to be downloaded.

“We are hoping that in the coming years in Australia we will see even more reductions in software piracy levels because of the FTA,” he said.

“We think [the agreement] has a very strong intellectual property (IP) rights chapter that should help when it’s adopted. We think it’s important to have recognition that IP is an important part of the FTA,” Hardee said.

Hardee said the Alliance was now sending out as many as 3000 copyright violation notices to ISPs in the Asia-Pacific region — which includes the highly populous countries of China, India, Indonesia — and Australia.

Hardee did not offer specifics on which Australian ISPs had been notified, but said legislation here needed to be toughened up.

“Strengthening ISP liability is very important. Internet piracy is a rapidly growing form of piracy. Bandwidth is increasing, the number of Internet users is increasing and we are seeing rapid increases in the levels of software piracy,” he said.

“We think there are areas where the Australian legislation could improve ... by and large the legislation is good, but there are areas where it might be deficient.”