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.”

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