The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) is supportive of effective and proportionate efforts to prevent online piracy. Consumers stand to benefit from a vibrant creative industry which is adequately compensated for its intellectual effort. Blocking access to online locations which infringe or facilitate the infringement of copyright is one step rights holders can take to prevent piracy from continuing undisturbed. However, we have a number of concerns about the reach and effectiveness of the proposed legislation. We also maintain that without adequately addressing problems with access and affordability to content the problem of piracy will persist regardless of regulation.
ACCAN’s submission will highlight the impact this Bill may have on consumers if it exceeds its intended scope and explore possible ways to make it fit for purpose.
ACCAN notes that the Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Communications is currently dealing with similar concerns around website blocking. We believe much could be gained from reviewing submissions made to that Committee in developing policy targeted at curbing online piracy. This is particularly relevant to ensure proper processes are in place to minimise problems with blocking at the technological level.