08 December 2004 by Richard Chirgwin

Bumpkin Negotiators Sell Out Australia, Claim Victory

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Facing opposition from the telecommunications and Internet industries, Parliament has passed the Copyright Amendment Bill 2004 to push through the Australia-US FTA.

Having originally held back the text of the letters exchanged between Mark Vaile and Robert Zoellick in November, the government introduced the legislation in a rush, and it was only at the beginning of this week that the Internet Industries Association made public its opposition to the legislation.

Supported by Ozemail, Telstra and Optus, the IIA warned that sections 11 and 13 of the amendment would import a regime from America, in which the copyright industries send thousands of automated take-down notices, with little regard to the accuracy of their accusations.

In its public statements, the industry passed over Section 3 and Section 7, which put much more onerous restrictions on the status of proxies and caches (putting tighter ropes around the use of “temporary reproductions” needed to transmit or use copyright material).

Australia has already seen the impact of automatic copyright policing, with the copyright industries trying to dazzle Justice Murray Wilcox in their pursuit of Kazaa (if CommsWorld had staff, I would love to spend some time in the courtroom – RC). The same industry is also working to extradite the alleged leader of the DrinkOrDie group of pirates, Hew Raymond Griffiths; the case currently awaiting publication of the judgement.