Australia's New Anti-Piracy Code Is Being Signed Off By ACMA

Today was the cut-off date for Australia's telecommunications industry to submit the revised version of its voluntary graduated warning scheme for copyright infringers to the Australian Communications and Media Authority. That version was delivered to ACMA earlier today.

In other words, the final iteration of our country's new anti-piracy code is finished, and we know what it'll include.

Australia's ISPs had four months to agree on a "three-strikes" code that would see them self-regulating copyright infringement, or otherwise an ostensibly more stringent code would be forced upon them by the federal government under the guidance of communications minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Lifehacker has an excellent guide to what the anti-piracy code includes; the cut and thrust is that copyright holders will be able to contact ISPs, when they detect an IP address in the range distributed by that ISP being used to access copyrighted materials, and pass on an infringement notice to the end user. That IP address capture will likely happen via external companies like Maverickeye that monitor popular torrents of copyrighted materials and keep records of IP addresses that access that data.

The infringement notice will follow a three-step, graduated model as broadly used overseas in countries like the UK and US. The first notice will be an educational one outlining the alleged transgression and information on how to access copyrighted materials legitimately -- a gentle nudge in the right direction. The second notice will be a more serious warning of the potential consequences that copyright infringement carries with it. The third notice will advise continued alleged copyright infringers of potential court proceedings that may be brought against them.

The differences from the earlier draft of the scheme are small but significant. There is no longer a $25 fee for any Internet user who wants to contest or challenge an infringement notice issued to them. It's now clear, too, that any ISP in Australia with more than 1000 customers -- that is approximately 70 ISPs -- will have to subscribe to the scheme and deliver notices to their allegedly infringing customers.

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