Among their many good qualities, Australians have little respect for authority and can be refreshingly blunt.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft is trying to get internet service providers to crack down on illegal downloaders by sending them warning notices and if they continue, disconnect them.
Amusingly, the industry will have none of it. And the industry includes, in particular, Telstra, the formerly government owned phone provider that has a monopoly in land lines. Needless to say, it’s a company most Australians love to hate. It was slow to implement broadband, wanting to milk its old infrastructure as long as possible, charges high fees by international standards, and isn’t big on customer service.
So the specter of Telstra siding with the little guy is refreshing and amusing. From the SMH:
Adrianne Pecotic, executive director of AFACT, said talks had broken down with the industry body that represents the ISPs, the Internet Industry Association (IIA). AFACT was now asking ISPs individually to implement the proposal….
She proposes that AFACT would identify the internet addresses of those suspected of illegal downloading and pass those details on to the ISPs, which would be able to identify the specific customers.
The ISP would then send those customers a letter directing them to an information site “to educate people that this activity is illegal, that it’s not anonymous”. Repeat offenders would have their access speeds slowed and, ultimately, their internet service disconnected “if they continue to flagrantly engage in illegal activity”….
But…. the IIA [Internet Industry Association] said the proposal was problematic and unnecessary.
“The board is concerned that ISPs are not (and should not be placed) in a position to adjudicate on whether or not a person is infringing copyright or to suspend or terminate a service based on an allegation of infringement,” it wrote….
Telstra BigPond’s position was similar to that of the IIA.
“While we do not encourage or condone piracy, particularly as we are a legal provider of online music, games and movies content, we do not believe it is up to the ISPs to be judge, jury and executioner in relation to the issue when the content owners have any number of legal avenues to pursue infringements,” BigPond said in a statement.
“We are not going to take AFACT’s claims against customers at face value.”