By Colin Mann
Australia’s Attorney-General’s Department has succeeded in resurrecting industry negotiations for tackling online piracy which had been stalled for nearly four months since the most recent meeting in February 2012. Industry sources have confirmed that a fresh meeting is scheduled in the coming days.
Telecommunications industry trade body Communications Alliance CEO John Stanton revealed April 20 that the Alliance and Australia’s major ISPs were ready to continue discussions already under way with Rights Holders and the Australian Government to see whether a cooperative industry-led scheme could be implemented to address online copyright issues. His comments followed the Australian High Court’s dismissal of a copyright infringement appeal case against Internet Service Provider (ISP) iiNet in a landmark ruling.
Stanton said he hoped the judgement would help accelerate the process of agreeing with rights holders the basis for an industry-led scheme that would discourage copyright infringement, appropriately protect customers’ rights and benefit the industry as a whole.
A spokeswoman for Attorney-General Nicola Roxon said the Attorney-General’s Department would continue to facilitate such discussions with th hope that industry will continue to work together to find a range of solutions to illegal downloading.
The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network’s acting policy director, Jonathan Gadir, revealed he would attend the fourth in the series of meetings some time in the next fortnight.
“What is clear to us at the outset is that any future copyright rules must serve the needs of the whole community,” Gadir told The Australian. “We believe that the process for deciding the way forward should be as transparent as is as possible and look forward to the discussions.”
Sources suggested that copyright holders were angered when the Communications Alliance publicised a proposed notification regime to deal with illegal downloaders, contrary to agreed rules regarding the conduct of such meetings.
A spokesman for the Attorney General confirmed a meeting would be held in Sydney on Thursday and that all parties to the previous meetings were invited, including consumer representatives.
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