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Issue No 9: 8 April 2015
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Industry Code to Help Combat Internet Piracy Lodged for Registration

Sydney, 8 April 2015 – A new Code of practice, designed to help drive down the rate of online copyright infringement, or “internet piracy” in Australia, has today been submitted for registration by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

The Copyright Notice Scheme Code 2015, published by Communications Alliance following approval by its Board of Directors, has been amended following consideration of more than 370 public submissions received in response to a call for public comment on an initial draft Code in February and March.

The Code is the product of an intensive development process during the past 120 days by Internet Service Providers (ISPs), consumer representatives and a broad alliance of Rights Holders from the music, film, television and performing arts industries.

The ACMA will now consider whether to register the Code, which will apply to approximately the largest 70 Australian ISPs.

The Code creates a Copyright Notice Scheme through which residential fixed internet users who are alleged to have infringed copyright online will receive an escalating series of infringement notices designed to change their behaviour and help steer them toward lawful sources of content.

The Scheme has a strong emphasis on public education and does not contain explicit sanctions against internet users, but does provide for a
‘facilitated preliminary discovery’ process through which ISPs can assist Rights Holders who may decide to take legal action against persistent infringers.

The Scheme contains strong safeguards against any threat to the privacy of internet users and allows an account holder who receives three infringement notices in a 12 month period to have the validity of the allegations independently reviewed.
 
Amendments made to the Code in response to public comments include:

  • the removal of a proposed $25 fee that would have been payable by internet users in order to challenge and obtain an independent review of an infringement notice; and
  • stronger consumer representation on the Copyright Information Panel (a body that will oversee the operation of the notice scheme and run a web site to help educate the public on infringement issues).

Communication Alliance CEO, John Stanton, praised the dedication and cooperative spirit of Rights Holders, ISPs and consumer representatives who developed the Code in record time.

“There are still some commercial details, including elements of the scheme funding arrangements, to be finalised and the finished product must meet the approval of the ACMA, but all stakeholders believe that the Code can be an important tool toward the shared objective of reducing online copyright infringement in Australia,” he said.

The operation of the Code and the notice scheme are not affected in any way by the recent Federal Court decision on preliminary discovery in the Dallas Buyers Club case.

Rights Holders involved in the Code development include APRA AMCOS, ARIA, Australia Screen Association, Copyright Agency, Foxtel, Free TV Australia, Music Rights Australia, News Corporation Australia, Village Roadshow Limited and World Media. The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) represented consumer interests during the Code development and further advice was received from the Internet Society of Australia.

The effectiveness of the Code will be independently evaluated 18 months after its commencement.


Commenting on the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Cyber Security Review

Communications Alliance has provided a submission in response to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Cyber Security Review.

The submission pointed to the need for a better coordination of the current spread of agencies and programs and the creation of a single national point of access to Government’s cyber security agencies to increase efficiencies and to ensure that Australians are adequately cyber literate and have access to expert resources. Industry highlighted the importance of a flexible framework to accommodate rapid technological change. Such a framework ought to be established through industry codes, standards or guidelines that do not interfere with global efforts. Communications Alliance also noted that the Review and any resulting framework must link in with other Government security related initiatives (Telecommunications Security Sector Reform (TSSR), data retention legislation, copyright and website blocking legislation). Industry also raised its concerns over any additional costs potentially associated with further cyber security initiatives.

The submission can be found at the Communications Alliance submissions page.


Public comment invited on the revised Calling Number Display Guideline

Communications Alliance Ltd invites public comment on the revised Calling Number Display Guideline (DR G522:2015).

The Calling Number Display Guideline is intended to replace the Calling Number Display Code (C522:2007). It addresses privacy issues raised by Calling Line Identification (CLI) and Calling Number/Name Display (CND).

The replacement of the Code with a Guideline is being proposed in light of the Government’s de-regulatory commitments and the principles espoused in the Communications Alliance “Framework for Customer Information Provisions”. Please refer to the Explanatory Statement at the front of the draft Guideline for further information.

The Calling Number Display Code is to be changed into a Guideline with content changes to:

  • clarify mobile services are applicable as part of the Standard Telephone Service.
  • include updates as a result of the introduction of the Australian Privacy Principles.
  • rectify an error introduced in the previous version of the Code concerning how the obligations for permanent line blocking are applied to fixed line and mobile services.
  • limit the scope of the new Guideline to residential and small business customers, as defined by the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, to align with the Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code.
  • reflect the calling line identification (CLI) obligations of s354 of the Telecommunications Act 1997.
  • update references from ‘ACIF’ to ‘Communications Alliance’

The draft Guideline can be downloaded from the Drafts for Public Comment page along with further information on how to submit comments.  Information on the Working Committee which revised the Guideline, including the Terms of Reference, can be found here.
 
All submissions received will be made publically available on the Communications Alliance website unless the submitter requests otherwise.

The Public Comment for the draft Guideline closes at 5:00pm (AEST) on Friday 8th May 2015.


The ACOMM Awards 2015 – Nominations Open

Nominations for the awards close on 17 April 2015.  Full details of the awards and criteria are available at http://www.acomms.com.au/nominations.php

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