Leaked Government Options Paper On Australian Piracy Admits Cost Of Content Is A Factor In Illegal Downloads

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An Australian government discussion paper outlining measures it could take to combat illegal downloads and piracy has leaked.

Many have previously pointed to the high cost of content and the time it takes for it to arrive Down Under as reasons for why Australians haven’t managed to kick the piracy habit. The discussion paper reveals the government agrees.

“There are a number of factors that contribute to online copyright infringement in Australia. These factors include the availability and affordability of lawful content, the case with which consumers can access unlawful material and consumer awareness of legitimate services,” it says in the report, “Online Copyright Infringement Discussion Paper”, leaked by Crikey today.

It looks like Attorney-General George Brandis, together with Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, are outlining steps they could be willing to take to stop Australians illegally obtaining content.

Measures include blocking sites which “contain infringing content”. This would include cutting Australian user access to sites like Pirate Bay.

For a site to be blocked the courts would need to be convinced that its primary function is to distribute copyrighted content.

This compares to the model adopted in a number of EU member countries, including the UK, where ISP are directed to block access to internet sites that host copyright-infringing content.

The discussion paper also puts forward the idea that ISPs take “reasonable steps” to prevent or avoid copyright infringements.

“The Government believes that even where an ISP does not have a direct power to prevent a person from doing a particular infringing act, there still may be reasonable steps that can be taken by the ISP to discourage or reduce online copyright infringement,” the report said.

This could be similar to the US ‘three strike’ system where consumers receive a number of warning letters from ISPs before further action is taken.

The government has requested the tech industry and ISPs respond to three proposals to amend the Copyright Act and says action needs to be taken by government together with content owners, Internet Service Providers and consumers.

There’s more here.

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