The Australian Copyright Council is calling for the implementation of a ‘graduated response system’, which would notify users when they commit copyright infringement on the internet.
Countries including the United Kingdom, France, South Korea and New Zealand have already introduced legislation under which ISPs and copyright owners establish graduated response systems.
Within the system, an ISP works with rights holders to identify repeated subscriber copyright infringements. The ISP then sends a series of notices to infringers, alerting them to their criminal activity.
If the activity continues after a certain number of notices, the ISP imposes a penalty such as suspending an account, throttling speed or terminating the service.
ACC chief executive Mary Anne Reid says a graduated response system in Australia would serve as an educational device for users, including start-ups looking to duplicate online content.
“It makes the whole situation clearer and raises awareness that you shouldn’t use other people’s work without permission or remuneration,” Reid says.
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“If we’re going to protect [online content], then we need to find ways that are fair and effective to do so, and I think the graduated response system is really the way to go.”
Reid says a graduated response system would help to protect “the health and future of the creative industries in Australia.”
Copyright industries include press and literature, music, theatrical productions, operas, motion picture and video, radio and television, photography, software and databases, visual and graphic arts, advertising services, and copyright collecting societies.
Reid would also like to see measures introduced to make it easier for users to contact or locate the owners of works as an added incentive to do the right thing.
“We need to have the rights holders and the internet service providers agree to sit down to nut out a code,” she says.
“Government needs to facilitate the discussion, ensure that whatever code was developed met government standards and the code itself would need to sit with a body like [the Australian Communications and Media Authority].”
Earlier this year, Attorney-General Robert McClelland said copyright reform would be referred to the Australian Law Reform Commission.