Copyright content owners have been pushing for an industry code that would require Australian Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to send warning notices to subscribers suspected of illegal downloading. This code has now been canned, according to a report. The reason? It would cost too much to implement. Here’s what you need to know.
Dubbed the “three strikes code“, the regime would see ISPs assist rights holders in sending out a series of letters to suspected pirates. The notices work on a three-strikes model, with each letter becoming progressively more serious. If three notices are sent in a 12-month period, then ISPs are supposed to “facilitate an expedited discovery process to assist the Rights holder to enforce its copyright”.
The code was in development while the Dallas Buyer’s Club court case was still active. Last week, the court case finally came to a close with the rights holders for the film throwing in the towel, giving up on trying to get ISPs to hand over personal details of suspected pirates.
Since the final draft of the code was sent in for approval with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) late last year, it has faced a series of delays. There were still way too many details that need to be ratified and the ACMA approval process was also stalled by Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim, who wrote to the media authority expressing his concerns.
The code was something that rights holders heavily pushed for but it has been revealed that they no longer want to pursue this route. According to a report by CNET, the three strikes code has been shelved.
Speaking with CNET, Village Roadshow co-CEO Graham Burke said:
“We reached the conclusion after having an independent audit firm evaluate the cost of sending out the notices, and we concluded that it was too much of an imposition to ask the ISPs, and also from our own point of view, the amount it would cost. We concluded that it was too much of an imposition to ask the ISPs, and also from our own point of view, the amount it would cost. So we decided not to push it forward.”
Burke noted that an automated system would cost far less than issuing the infringement notices manually. He warned that an automated system is in the works but did not reveal when rights holders would look to implement it.
Now, just because the three strikes code has been kiboshed doesn’t mean those who download content illegally should breathe a sigh of relief just yet. The development of the code was ordered by the Federal Government, which has threatened to bring in legislation to fight content piracy if rights holders and ISPs couldn’t come up with a scheme to do it themselves.
We’ll have to wait and see how the Government responds to this news.
In related news, Village Roadshow has teamed up with Hollywood heavyweights in the Australian Federal Court to force ISPs to block customers’ access to a website that streams copyrighted movies and TV shows. This move is the first major test of Australia’s new site-blocking laws under the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015 introduced in the middle of last year.