Feeds

Attorney-General alters copyright consultation paper

Feeding the trolls 101

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The Australian Attorney-General’s department has triggered a teacup-storm of speculation, criticism, and conspiracy-theorizing by issuing and then changing a discussion paper on copyright reform.

The story began last week, when the department flagged a review of the “safe harbour” provisions that are, among other things, at issue in the High Court appeal in the “AFACT versus iiNet” trial.

In its original discussion paper, however, the Department also raised the spectre of government greasing the wheels of copyright trolls actions, in a section entitled Streamlining the process of seeking ISP subscriber details in copyright infringement matters.

In what looked like an industry-provided template, the paper echoed copyright industry complaints that complying with legal processes such as court orders is “cumbersome and expensive”.

On October 14, however, the document was re-issued with this section removed, a move which suggests that a draft rather than a final version was first posted. Even so, the original version is being interpreted as reflecting the inside thinking of the Department.

The kerfuffle has also obscured other aspects of the discussion paper – in particular, its handling of the definition of “service providers” who enjoy safe harbour protection.

As Australian law now stands, safe harbour only extends to carriers and carriage service providers as defined in Australia’s Telecommunications Act. However, the consultation notes, carriers and service providers aren’t the only people who provide network access.

This appears to create an exposure outside the telecommunications / ISP industry. Is a company at risk because its staff download unauthorised material during work hours? What of university campus networks or search engines?

Australians have until November 22 to comment on whether “safe harbour” should be defined as “A person who provides services relating to, or provides connections for, the transmission or routing of data; or operates facilities for, online services or network access, but does not include such person or class of persons as the Minister may prescribe in the Regulations.” ®

Upate: The Attorney-General's department has told The Register the inclusion of the user identification 'streamlining' was an error.

"A draft document which incorporated other issues not included in the Safe Harbour review was mistakenly posted on the Departmental website. It was removed as soon as the error came to light," a spokesperson told The Register.

"We believe that the ongoing departmental convened discussions between ISPs and content owners is currently the most appropriate forum to address these issues." ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Apple's iPhone 6 first-day sales are MEANINGLESS, mutters analyst
Big weekend queues only represent fruity firm's supply
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Bill Gates, drugs and the internet: Top 10 Larry Ellison quotes
'I certainly never expected to become rich ... this is surreal'
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
EMC, HP blockbuster 'merger' shocker comes a cropper
Stand down, FTC... you can put your feet up for a bit
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.