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Studio Equates Movie Piracy with Terrorism and Pedophilia

Posted by: , 15:31 AEST, Sat September 6, 2014

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Australian media company links piracy with terrorism and pedophilia, while journalists union backs and then opposes Internet censorship
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Image/Photo Credit: WEBN-TV @ Flickr, CC

An Australian media company has controversially linked movie piracy with terrorism and pedophilia.

With the Australian government calling for submissions for consultation on new policies to deal with copyright infringement in the country, Australian media company Village Roadshow made a submission called for a zero tolerance policy towards online piracy. The company's argument for such a policy, however, was controversial to say the least.

The relevant passage in the submission paper starts off innocuously enough. It says: "The dangers posed by piracy are so great, the goal should be total eradication or zero tolerance."

However, the next sentence will likely anger those on the other side of the issue, as well as those on the front-lines in the battle against online terrorism and child abuse.

"Just as there is no place on the internet for terrorism or paedophilia, there should be no place for theft that will impact the livelihoods of the 900,000 people whose security is protected by legitimate copyright," the submission paper writes.

Even the quoted figure of 900,000 is controversial, as this would be almost 8% of the total number of Australians currently in employment, a fairly high number for a country that has a comparatively small movie and entertainment industry.

Village Roadshow's submission also targeted one ISP, iiNet, in particular. The submission claims that iiNet is actively engaged in spreading propaganda against "a rational approach" to fighting piracy. The vitriol aimed at this one particular ISP, which isn't even Australia's largest ISP, is perhaps understandable given Hollywood's previously failed attempts to sue the ISP for "allowing" its customers to engage in piracy.

There was also further controversy this week when the union representing journalists surprisingly backed the government's Internet censorship plans, having been staunchly against the proposal previously. The submission from the Media, Entertainment, and Arts Alliance (MEAA) offered complete support for blocking access to sites deemed to be related to piracy, only for the submission to be withdrawn when its own members voiced their objection to the government's proposals. 

The MEAA's backtracking was complete when it later released a statement that seemed to counter everything it had said in its submissions

"It was never our intention to make a submission which could in any way be interpreted as supporting an internet filter. We have previously campaigned against Government proposals for an internet filter and will continue to do so, as we also continue to campaign against data retention," the MEAA said.

It appears that divisions within the union, which not only represents journalists but also those in the creative industries including actors, photographers and those working in film and TV, was ultimately responsible for the union's schizophrenic responses.


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