Digital copyright scheme still months away


Australians who download illegal content are safe for another few months. Source: Supplied
Australians who download illegal content are safe for another few months. Source: Supplied

The proposed Copyright Infringement Notice Scheme targeting digital pirates won’t commence for an estimated three months as staff continue to work through teething issues.

The scheme’s initial deadline was September 1, although Communications Alliance CEO, John Stanton, said this date was always open to amendment due to anticipated circumstances.

“My estimate would be that if we agreed on what remains to be agreed tomorrow, it would still take at least a couple of months if not a little bit more to have the scheme running… You’re looking at close to the end of the year realistically,” Mr Stanton said.

Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) Policy Officer, Xavier O’Halloran, said from previous experience with similar schemes, he isn’t surprised at the delay.  Mr O’Halloran welcomes the delay as it gives infringing consumers more time to adopt legal alternatives like streaming service, Netflix.

“We’ve maintained all along that if there’s affordable, accessible content available, people will go with that rather than piracy in most cases anyway,” Mr O’Halloran said.

“It stands to reason a lot of those people [700k+ Netflix subscribers] were probably getting their content elsewhere before and some of those were probably resorting to illegal services because they weren’t able to find affordable content online.”

Along with cost sharing agreements between ISPs and Rights Holders, four sub-committees are working on the scheme’s operational framework, including creating a copyright information panel and website.  This work is expected to be completed today.

“Once those two things are sorted out then we have to submit details about that to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and they have to make a decision on whether the code is registerable with the underlying mechanics in place,” Mr Stanton said.

The ACMA chose not to comment on the estimated timeframe and their role in administering the scheme.


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