back to article Australia to block piracy sites if Big Content asks nicely in court

Australia will join the ranks of nations that ask local internet service providers block access to sites suspected of illegally distributing copyrighted material. The nation's attorney-general George Brandis and communications minister Malcolm Turnbull today revealed their intention to “amend the Copyright Act, to enable …

  1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

    "Suspected of"

    Not yet proven. Suspected of. Nice. 'Straya!

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Surely it is up to the court to push for the evidence, that the suspected site is guilty and the court decides whether it is proven or not - and hands out a court order or not. In which case the wording is correct, they are suspected, until proven guilty before a court of law.

      To be honest, I like this better than many other schemes around the world, where the sites are assumed guilty and blocked, until they can prove their innocence.

      As long as the IP holders have to put the evidence before a court of law and prove their suspicions, before a court order allowing the site to be blocked is issued, I don't really have a problem with it.

      If it runs along the lines of:

      Big IP: Judge, give us a court order to block bbc.co.uk.

      Judge: Okay, no problem.

      Then it is a complete farce.

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        "As long as the IP holders have to put the evidence before a court of law and prove their suspicions, before a court order allowing the site to be blocked is issued, I don't really have a problem with it."

        There's no evidence this is required. Just that Big IP needs to have "suspicions". There was no mention they'd have to actually prove anything.

        1. big_D Silver badge

          But generally a court will kick out a case based just on suspicions, if the plaintiff cannot back up their suspicions with evidence.

          1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

            "But generally a court will kick out a case based just on suspicions, if the plaintiff cannot back up their suspicions with evidence."

            Sure, if it's an actual trial. There are lots of instances in which you go to a court to get them to sign off on something but that it doesn't involve a trial. A warrant would be an example.

            So it seems to me it's entirely possible here what we're talking about is Big IP going to a court and saying "we suspect BobsDildoShack.com of hosting our IP", getting a ban and then it being up to the owner of BobsDildoShack.com to respond to that ban.

            See, in a trial, there's representation. The opportunity to answer your accuser and defend yourself. In anything else, there is absolutely no reason to assume that the court's involvement is anything more than a FISA-court-like rubber stamping process.

            Nothing about this seems like these are presented to the court as "cases". As described, it's far more like "getting a warrant". Show minimal evidence, get rubber stamp, and the onus is on the accused, not the accuser.

            Except, you know, there's not actually any "getting a warrant" involved, and no reason to assume that even that minimal level of evidence is required.

          2. Naich

            Unless there will be representations from the owner of the site that is to be blocked, then any evidence given is worthless, as it cannot be challenged.

        2. auburnman

          "shown to be primarily for the purpose of facilitating online copyright infringement"

          Okay, that doesn't actually use the word prove, but it's strongly implied the intent is to have some due process. Of course what the law will actually say once the politicians and lobbyists finish warping it will likely be a different story.

          1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

            "Okay, that doesn't actually use the word prove, but it's strongly implied the intent is to have some due process. Of course what the law will actually say once the politicians and lobbyists finish warping it will likely be a different story."

            Really? And how has that worked out in other countries which have used these sorts of laws? I seem to recall quite a few UK blunders in which things like the Chaos Computer Club get blocked. Or where an newspaper is blocked because of a comment.

            Just because the "implied intent" is that there be some form of due process doesn't mean that the citizens of a nation should accept that it will be so. The default position must be one of not trusting those in authority over us, and of stipulating explicitly their rights and responsibilities, with as little wiggle room as possible.

            Otherwise, they will inevitably abuse each and every privilege they are granted. And once powers are granted to governments, they are rarely - if ever - released.

            This is a means to censorship without the right to challenge before the censorship is enacted. That, by definition, means there is no due process. Everything else is hand waving. Relying on the judge and/or the companies involved ot act in good faith is - pardon my french - outright fucking lunacy.

            They is no reason whatsoever to assume that they will act in good faith, or that said judges are somehow immune to regulatory capture.

            See; FISA courts.

            1. dan1980

              @Trevor

              "Just because the "implied intent" is that there be some form of due process doesn't mean that the citizens of a nation should accept that it will be so. The default position must be one of not trusting those in authority over us, and of stipulating explicitly their rights and responsibilities, with as little wiggle room as possible."

              This is exactly right.

              Time and again, where a law has been written with imprecise language or overly-broad scope or with inadequate regulations and oversight, that law is abused far beyond the way it was advertised.

              It should be noted that it doesn't have to be the government or a police force or intelligence agency that abuses vague laws like this - it is equally likely that corporations will too.

              While it is slightly off-topic, I would point your attention to the gigantic rumble that is the 'Net Neutrality' debate. This, almost in its entirety is down to a ambiguity in one word - just one: "offer". (In the context of offering telecommunications services.)

              One word and the result is countless millions being spent arguing back and forth and some of the best and most experienced legal minds in the US split on the definition.

              If a law is not screwed down in every clause and every single last word then it can be abused and, if there is any gain in doing so, it will be.

              I don't want the assurances of politicians that there will be oversight and no abuse. If that's the plan then the best way to achieve it is to write the law ensuring that it happens.

    2. Adam 1 Silver badge

      No worries Canadia

  2. poopypants

    ROFL

    "informing consumers of the implications of copyright infringement and legitimate alternatives that provide affordable and timely content"

    Over there, next to the unicorns.

    1. LaeMing Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: ROFL

      Bunyips.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. dol

    This will just accelerate the already growing trickle to VPN into a tsunami. Got to laugh at dot point 4 "fairly apportioning costs as between ISPs and rights holders" As if those %$#*s in Hollywood will pay a fair share of anything.

    1. Craig Foster

      Hollywood Accounting

      Hollywood Accounting will mean movie and music industry "costs" will be astronomical.

      I have no doubt ISPs will end up reimbursing the studios in the long run.

  4. Craig Foster

    "Fly on the wall"

    Walking fly's don't last long.

    Everything so far has indicated the Liberals are firmly planted up the arses of Big Media and Rupert in particular. "We'll make our own" if you don't, may end up more onerous than what's on offer now.

    Lastly, I don't hold hope for Australia wising up, since the existing policies have been discussed behind closed doors, with NDAs, and excluding independent rights-holder representative groups, and all but the big two ISPs.

    Google's 8.8.8.8 DNS server will be taking a hammering shortly.

    1. -tim

      Re: "Fly on the wall"

      8.8.8.8 goes to a server in Sydney for most Aussies.

  5. JaitcH
    Unhappy

    It's just Australia trying to ...

    out do the USA.

    Just sheep of another kind.

  6. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Australian govt mentality

    Is largely that it's still a prison colony and the population are incarcerated.

    More pragmatically, such actions are pretty much proof-positive that the corruption scandals of the 80s haven't actually changed much in the establishment, other than flushing out a few patsies.

  7. Winkypop Silver badge
    Trollface

    All hail Rupert's Law

    May your content not only be licensed but restricted and profitable.

  8. Persona non grata

    It's nice to see democracy in action

    The Australian government believes in the democratic principal of one man, one vote.

    Rupert is that man.

  9. tkioz
    Facepalm

    Welp guess VPN provides will be seeing a lot more business in the near future.

  10. rtb61

    Malevolent Murdochs command and Toxic Tony

    News Corporation and the Malevolent Murdochs command and Toxic Tony and his corrupt government obeys. It has become so in your face it is starting to play out like some kindergarteners idea of how to control a government. They are not even pretending to hide it.

  11. JamesTQuirk

    Suspicion ...

    Yes, well with all the Holes in OS's, Routers as such ? Like the INNOCENT people who's PC where Hijacked ?

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/02/05/cat_collars_japanese_death_threat_hacker/

    They where just suspects too, under suspicion ....

    Maybe they should tighten up Companies manufacturing telecommunications equipment, This is also what "Privacy" is all about, being the only one using your connection ...

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