Ed Husic Explains Why New Piracy Laws Would Be Bad For Australian Tech

Ed Husic Explains Why New Piracy Laws Would Be Bad For Australian Tech

This morning at a copyright conference, Liberal Attorney-General Senator George Brandis said that the Coalition wanted to introduce new laws that would crack down on piracy via a system of notices issued through ISPs. This afternoon at the same conference, Labor MP Ed Husic offered up a stack of reasons why that approach could cause problems.

We’ve already highlighted one flaw in Brandis’ logic: he cited the most successful Australian movie of last year as an example of how piracy was ruining the industry. Speaking in a panel about the IT pricing inquiry during the Australian Digital Alliance’s Copyright Forum in Canberra today, Husic discussed Brandis’ proposals from a variety of angles.

Given Brandis’ approach it seems unlikely we’ll see any kind of moves towards introducing changes to copyright law in Australia to reflect the rapidly changing nature of technology. “The recommendations are going to be facing an uphill battle,” Husic said. “It looks like the shutters are pretty much being drawn down.”

“Copyright copyright is being used as a form of quasi-protectionism,” Husic said. “The way that it is being applied is designed to maintain revenue as opposed to encouraging innovation.”
We’ve heard a lot about piracy today. Clearly pirates have had a very emotionally scarring experience on Coalition ministers — they dedicated a lot of time to it today.”

“The whole carrot and stick approach to piracy has not worked in this country The sticks don’t work and the carrots aren’t appealing. The sticks of thinking that you’ll just crack down in terms of law enforcement — and we saw time and time again in terms of file sharing, it just doesn’t stop piracy. It hasn’t worked in the past.”

“It shifts the responsibility of looking at the way the market operates from content owners to legislatures. I am totally for protection of content, and I’m certainly for ensuring renumeration. I am not for maintaining quasi-protectionism in a regime that hasn’t worked and adopting a heavy-handed approach on the basis that under a new coalition government. it will suddenly work.”

Husic’s biggest concern is what such a policy might do to Australia’s attempts to develop a knowledge economy. “It has ramifications. We won’t be taken seriously as a digital economy in the South Asia region. I think we have to take a different approach.”


  • Wait, did Husic just bring logic into a political shitfight?
    I mean, legitimate, proof-backed logic, including evidence from past failures?
    Excuse me while I go divide by zero.

  • “…ensuring renumeration. “
    Has Lifehacker’s resident Grammar Nazi misquoted or did Mr Husic actually say “renumeration”?

  • Now see… this is one of the people they need to get feedback from before bringing in a law that will be useless before it even gets off the ground…! 🙂

  • You know what would combat piracy? Offering cheap, legal and easily-accessible options for viewing and downloading content.

    When the only option to view latest TV shows is buy a Foxtel subscription or some extremely expensive Telstra subscription with very limited content, of course people are going to pirate. See how well NetFlix is going in America? Where’s our Netflix? Quickflix? Gimme a break.

    View-on-demand is the future, and we can embrace it now or spend years litigating and getting nowhere. It’s mind-boggling.

    Spotify is the one service in Australia that seems to be nailing it, and it’s likely they’ll be forced to close their doors or up their subscription prices very soon due to short-sighted money-grubbing recording companies.

    • I agree with most of your comment, except the last paragraph.

      Spotify is not the only service in Australia. Not even the first.

  • The same law has been applied in france in 2009. They are now closing down the office that did the 3 strike law (http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/jul/09/france-hadopi-law-anti-piracy). in 5 years, the total number of users convicted of copyright infringement is: 1 … (no, I did not miss any digit).
    I guess, they have money to spare, as it did not work in other countries.
    The people new to pirating may stop at the first notice, and the experienced “copy-pirates” will never be caught in the first place, except of course if you convict everyone using a VPN amongst other things (I’ll tell my work that I cannot work remotely as it means I am a pirate …).

    • You can’t expect our politicians to have done research into solutions they propose about things they don’t understand!

    • New Zealand also got a 3 strikes law relatively recently, did it stop piracy? Nope. Did it slow down pirates? Nope. Did it do anything? Nope.

      • That’s not fair. It probably got a whole infrastructure put in place which can later be used for censorship. That’s something.

  • Brandis is bringing this in for compliance with the TPP. Of course the the text of that treaty is still secret.

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