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Fighting Around The World, Piracy Edition

Posted by: , 18:12 AEST, Tue April 12, 2011

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In the UK, Australia and even Denmark, copyright holders and their government allies are scheming new ways to stop the Internet piracy epidemic

A roundup of the latest anti-piracy developments from Australia, the UK and Denmark.

Starting in Australia, a super-conglomerate of all the major film and entertainment companies has been formed to exert pressure on the communications sector to be more proactive in combating online piracy.

Following an Australian Federal court ruling which sided with ISP iiNet on the issue of copyright enforcement, the new super-conglomerate, dubbed the Digital Entertainment Alliance Australia (DEAA), includes major players such as Foxtel, BBC Worldwide, the AFACT (which sued iiNet), the National Association of Cinema Operators, Hoyts, Blockbuster, Video Ezy and almost all of the big names in film entertainment in Australia.

The DEAA hopes to negotiate with communications players and the government in forcing through a new tougher copyright regime in Australia, and overrule any decisions the highest court in Australia will hand down in the AFACT vs iiNet appeal.

Over to the UK, a similar movement is happening with copyright holders also urging UK ISPs to help them police the Internet for copyright infringement. Content producers are hoping an industry-led solution can be implemented, as the government is currently struggling to implement anti-piracy legislation passed just before the previous Labour government lost the election.

The proposals would include a central site-blocking list, preventing Internet users from accessing websites deemed "inappropriate" by copyright holders, many of them multi-national corporations. 

Concerns about cost, technical and legal feasibility, raised by ISPs, will need to be addressed, even as UK ISPs are still in court challenging over the legality of warning letters and three-strike systems that will be part of the government's Digital Economy Act.

And last, but not least, in Denmark, parliamentary politicians are urging browser makers to help out in the crusade against online piracy by employing some of the same techniques in blocking out malware to blocking out websites that film and music companies don't want people to visit. 

Earlier proposals which use site blocking via DNS has been deemed unworkable, due to how easy it can be circumvented, although given how easy malware spreads on the Internet, and how many different browsers there are, a browser-led blocking effort may just as easily fail.

Critics, including law professor and Vice-President of Danish IT, Henry Udsen, say that the fundamental question of freedom of speech and freedom of information is being tampered with all just to appease multi-national corporations. "If we block access to Internet, so we begin to tamper with fundamental questions about freedom of speech and freedom of information – especially after the Internet will have an increasing impact on how we collect our information," Udsen warned.

The global war on piracy continues ...

Do you think online piracy will ever be stopped or even just contained, no matter how many of our rights we give up in the process? Post your opinion in this news article's comments section, or in this forum thread:


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