Depending on how long you’ve been following the Federal Government’s attempts to interfere with common sense and the internet in Australia, you may or may not recall that there was once a plan to filter the internet based on a mysterious government blocklist that was ripe for abuse. Consumer group CHOICE recalls the filter, and says that the government’s site blocking proposals to combat piracy are an attempt to re-introduce the controversial filtering plan.
The government today outlined how it would like ISPs and rights holders to develop a plan that would cut down on piracy, including how a three-strikes scheme would work and who would pay for it. If the industry doesn’t develop a plan within 120 days, the government will force one on it. In the meantime, the government has pledged to “amend” the Copyright Act to allow rights holders to exact legal relief from infringers if they’re caught exceeding a certain number of warnings.
Those amendments would also allow rights holders to apply to a court to have websites hosted outside of Australia distributing pirated material blocked at a local ISP level. This proposal in particular has CHOICE’s back up.
CHOICE’s CEO, Alan Kirkland, says that the plan would create “an industry-run internet filter to block ‘offending’ websites”.
“We know that internet filters don’t work. This approach has been called ineffective and disproportionate by courts overseas, and it risks raising internet costs for everyone,” he said, adding that the right way to combat piracy is to fix availability and lower prices for consumers to a palatable figure.