Customer warnings next step in battle to curb piracy

By David Knox on February 15, 2014 / Filed Under News 36

online_piracyAttorney-General George Brandis may ask internet providers to issue warnings to customers, or block sites where content can be illegally downloaded, in a bid to curb online piracy in Australia.

“This may include looking carefully at the merits of a scheme whereby ISPs are required to issue graduated warnings to consumers who are using websites to facilitate piracy,” he said.

“Another option that some stakeholders have raised with me is to provide the Federal Court with explicit powers to provide for third party injunctions against ISPs, which will ultimately require ISPs to ‘take down’ websites hosting infringing content.”

Copyright holders like film and television studios have argued that it is ISPs’ role to prevent internet users from illegally downloading their content.

But in a landmark ruling in 2012, the High Court found provider iiNet was not responsible for its customers’ illegal activities.

ISPs say studies show such schemes where customers are given increasingly severe warnings don’t work.

The Australian Screen Association, which represents film and television studios and distributers, says it backs the measures proposed by Senator Brandis.

Foxtel recently confirmed it has secured the Australian rights to Game of Thrones next season, leaving it unavailable for legal download via iTunes. But the news had led to anger in social media and even some media were criticising the move by the Pay TV provider.

Source: ABC


  1. methix February 17, 2014 at 9:29 pm -

    i have a feeling they will try to bring this before the next season of game of thrones airs…

  2. methix February 17, 2014 at 9:27 pm -

    its not gonna do anything , people will do what they do in china and use a vpn. you can just get a vpn in singapore or new zealand and u wont even barely notice your speed being impacted cause the regions are so close

    all it will do is block access for people who don’t know anything about computers trying to access those places.

    you can get a vpn in new zealand or singapore and u wont even notice a difference in your internet speed cause the regions are so close.

    its all part of us free trade agreement this government is no better than the last , they where against the internet filter when labour wanted to bring it in now they are in power they want to bring it in themselves , same shti as gillard with the carbon tax

  3. TasTVcameraman February 17, 2014 at 1:38 pm -

    Networks and DVD release people should talk to each other and offer content that they are not going to show anytime soon and offer it legally via download or DVD release at a reasonable price.

    For instance I see that White Collar Series 4 is due for release in June a full year after it has been on TV.

  4. Jay February 17, 2014 at 1:29 pm -

    Here’s a though:
    The coalition government is pulling the plug on the 100Mbit NBN & have come up with this MTM (Multi Technology Mix or Malcolm Turnbull’s Mess depending on your side of politics). The new MTM will give us an increased maximum download speed of 25Mbit (1Mbit more that currently available for ADSL2+). Lets not even talk about the cost for this 1MBit.

    Could this not also be part of their attempt to kerb internet piracy by limiting the delivery system & peoples ability to download HD shows via VOD or Torrent sites, keeping Fox firmly in the drivers seat with their new IPTV offerings?

  5. sugarwalls February 17, 2014 at 12:30 pm -

    There is far too much bias when it comes to copyright.

    What we need is a fair system that protects entertainment companies but is fair to the consumer.

    IMHO this is what I would be proposing

    * Heavy policing of current content available for sale (iTunes, online, CD, DVD, Blu-ray)

    * Freedom to distribute free-to-air content so long as all commercials are intact and limited to download within Australia only.

    * Ignorance of any copyright breaches for all content being shared online that has not been available for sale (in any format) for more than 10 years.

    I believe all copyright stakeholders have a legal obligation to make all their content available for current sale.

    I am sick of television/film/music companies complaining about their content is being pirated, when they are hoarding loads of content with no legitimate way for consumers to obtain it.


  6. David Knox February 17, 2014 at 12:41 am -

    A reminder that comments advocating illegal piracy will not be approved. All comments submitted to TV Tonight must comply with Comments Policy.

  7. KippleMaster February 16, 2014 at 9:04 pm -


    Hate to burst your bubble but Game of Thrones Season 3 is not available on the US iTunes Store yet. The only thing up right now is a bunch of trailers and special features. The actual episodes will be be available from the 17th of February 2014. HBO don’t make their shows available in the US iTunes store until around the time of the DVD/Blu-ray release. If you don’t believe me read the angry reviews

    Australia was one of the only countries in the world where iTunes had it available for download the day after it aired.

  8. Sydney2K February 16, 2014 at 8:16 pm -

    @vitieddie: Granted, but the Labor web filter had a wider effect on the Internet community. The Brandis filter would only affect the not legal download of copyrighted material. The Labor filter covered every single web page that any Australian could access. It had the potential to block any website that the government deemed blockable for the public good. It could even block innocent websites, because the equation used to determine content to be blocked also blocked material that was related only tenuously. We know because there were examples back then of websites that should not have been blocked but were. This affected their business.

    The Brandis filter would only target one niche of the Internet, and an illegal on at that. It doesn’t affect e-commerce (directly), it doesn’t affect e-communication and e-telephony, it doesn’t affect gaming, it doesn’t affect social…

  9. TT33 February 16, 2014 at 6:35 pm -

    As jmanwf said there are going to be ways to get around it.

    I have bitten the bullet and am waiting for the GOT Series 3 Bluray….it has been a looooong wait. But finally it is coming out this week.

  10. jmanwf February 16, 2014 at 3:21 pm -

    guys just get yourself a USA Itunes account and a usa gift card.

    Game of Thrones is in the usa itunes store

  11. Craig February 16, 2014 at 2:22 pm -

    I don’t get this, are they going to attempt to block torrent sites? Because as soon as one is blocked more will take it’s place. And issuing warnings might scare off some but not all and they will find a way around it.

    I agree networks and rights holders need to make content available in a timely manor but unless they dump all their shows on line you will never be able to please everyone for every show made in other countries.

  12. TheGedemondan February 16, 2014 at 11:11 am -

    Foxtel: too expensive
    Commercial Free-to-air: not HD, timeslot shunting, incomplete series
    ABC: not HD, ABC2=reality rubbish
    SBS, HD but not enough content to interest me

  13. KFed February 16, 2014 at 6:39 am -

    As Foxtel hurtles towards irrelevancy, they should really look at the music and print media industry’s mistakes and try to adapt before it’s too late. This isn’t the way.

  14. Harvey35 February 16, 2014 at 3:47 am -

    This has little to do with protecting the Australian film and television industry, it is all about securing a free trade agreement with the USA.
    If the Libs bring this “internet filter” in I will never vote for them again.

  15. Jock February 16, 2014 at 3:05 am -

    I’ve long maintain that this isn’t an issue that can be tackled using legislation but by creating structural change in the way that television works in this country.

    We are so behind in terms of access to media when compared to other parts of the world, and while that doesn’t excuse piracy it goes a very long way to explaining why it happens. It’s better to solve the issue rather than sticking a bandaid on.

    The government should be encouraging the networks to evolve and match market expectations rather than trying to alter consumer habits. If we didn’t have such a tight and cosy industry then an service like Hulu could go a long way to achieving that…

  16. vitieddie February 16, 2014 at 2:40 am -


    Surely you are splitting hairs … it is basically an internet filter …

    As others have said, how about some protection for the consumer … why are cinema, dvd, pay tv and other “legal” content prices so high in Aus? …

    If you’re going to wag your finger at illegal downloaders, I hope you’re shaking your fist at the “foxtels”

  17. Shoudy Chen February 15, 2014 at 8:29 pm -

    I heard on the ten’s Olympic Coverage saying that people are not allowed to record or reproduce the Olympic Games without the written Consent from the IOC. What it means that this is under copyright laws. Why would the IOC have this type of strict policy for people recording the Olympic Games coverage?

  18. Sydney2K February 15, 2014 at 8:17 pm -

    Animal, the previous Labor government proposed introducing mandatory internet filtering of websites that might cause offence, such as racial and sexual preference villification, terrorism and extreme political content. However, critics complained that the government controld blacklist could be extended to topics the government of the day did not agree with, leading to the retention of free speech.

    What George Brandis is proposing is for ISP’s to warn users about their internet download habits, and to force ISP to block links and remove pages hosting illegal material. In terms of blocking pages, it’s a very focused range of links and topics, not as wide as the Labor government proposed.

    So, no hypocrisy at all.

  19. SpankedHam February 15, 2014 at 7:17 pm -

    Game of Thrones. Previously people could obtain the show completely legally in Australia via itunes for a few dollars an episode if they didn’t want to fork over $70 month (base package + ‘movies’) to Foxtel but now that Foxtel has locked up the content the only legal way to get is it have one’s pocket pillaged.

    So where’s the protection for the viewer? Tip: There won’t be any.

  20. Animal February 15, 2014 at 7:02 pm -

    Liberal Party, what a bunch of Hypocrites. They opposed the internet filtering when in opposition, and now they wanna bring it in, while in Government.

    Senator George Brandis, you are a disgrace to the nation as Attorney General. Should be sacked.

  21. jmanwf February 15, 2014 at 6:46 pm -

    You guys should watch Season 25 Episode 9 of the Simpsons it is an awesome episode and it deals with the piracy issue in a light hearted way the episode is called Steal This Episode lol

  22. Guy February 15, 2014 at 6:09 pm -

    Seriously what should happen is when it airs in the US, UK or anywhere else it should be up for legal download somewhere like iTunes or something. People do this because they are sick of waiting months and months and months before they air.

    Obviously the other option is that networks fast-track all shows but even then that isn’t going to stop everyone. That’s the problem with Australia.

  23. JoshS February 15, 2014 at 2:38 pm -

    Making ISP’s responsible for content infringement is fine as long as car manufacturers are held responsible for dangerous drivers… /s/

  24. Andrew_83 February 15, 2014 at 2:32 pm -

    Murdoch is certainly getting things done through Tony Abbott and his cronies isnt he? That’s why we have slow internet!

  25. Secret Squirrel February 15, 2014 at 1:55 pm -

    You lose the argument as soon as you liken downloading a copy of a movie to stealing some goods. Copyright infringement is not theft. If it was, we wouldn’t need separate laws to deal with it.

    However, it is illegal and no-one should feel that they have the right to watch a movie without compensating some entity in the legal supply chain. That being said, forcing ISPs to act as copyright police isn’t going to solve anything as there are many ways around any blocks that may be put in place.

    This is simply about US content owners continuing to pressure the Australian govt via the Free Trade Agreement to shift the cost of detecting and fighting copyright infringement onto Australian ISPs.

    Rightly or wrongly, while artificial market restrictions remain in place and prices in Australia are so much higher than the rest of the world, the illegal copying of all types of software will…

  26. A. February 15, 2014 at 1:30 pm -

    If you want to solve the problem then make it available legally and reliably online. Maybe both pay and free versions. That said I just want reliable internet. It’s never happened probably never will. Not for watching stuff. Just so I can look up information about bushfires and floods. Oh well wouldn’t want communications technology be reliable.

  27. tomothyd February 15, 2014 at 1:20 pm -

    There are still other ways than torrenting to obtain a TV show or movies like sourcing Netflix, Hulu Plus etc. Australian networks shoot themselves in the foot, their treatment of programs push viewers to go elsewhere. I am not saying it is right that people do go elsewhere, its just what is happening.
    Foxtel on the other hand is ridiculous. Their pricing is way too high for the bundles they offer, most of which offer channels people would not want should they be able to individually select channels. In the UK even the lowest income earners have SKY, because it’s the cheapest entertainment they can afford.

  28. Bushwalker February 15, 2014 at 1:13 pm -

    I don’t understand why are people upset about it. As @db said some people will find a way to download the content if they really want it whether our government or AACTA like it or not. I think what will happen is that people will just stop watching those shows and in long term even forget about them My life is not going to get worse if I don’t watch GoT or any other show. Like the $20 bananas you either buy them and whine about it or just buy something else that is equally good and cheaper.

  29. FKlein February 15, 2014 at 12:59 pm -

    @glennc Stealing bananas because they are $20 no that is not right, but it sure is tempting especially if you love Bananas.

  30. Mr. J February 15, 2014 at 12:31 pm -

    Some of the rational of pirates is pretty hilarious. Just because acting within the law is annoying, inconvenient or costly doesn’t give permission to act illegally. It’s like hearing that it’s ok to steal a tv from a store because otherwise they make me wait in a queue, put up with small talk and pay for it.

  31. glennc February 15, 2014 at 12:18 pm -

    Last time I checked, it’s not our right to illegally download movies/tv shows. Just because a Network chooses to alter the start/finish time, schedule etc, doesn’t give people the right to illegally download. I’m tired of the constant justification from some people as to why they do it.
    Example, if my local supermarket put the price of bananas up to $20 a kilo does that give me the right to steal said bananas?? No, it doesn’t!

  32. GMPetrie February 15, 2014 at 11:54 am -

    Is the government thick? The reason why Australians are the most pirated users in the world is the result of its channel’s mistreatment of TV shows (bumping them around, putting crap like promos even if they are no ad breaks, running late, etc.)

  33. Aussie_Austridge February 15, 2014 at 11:19 am -

    I’ve just renewed the subscription to my VPN…

  34. David Knox February 15, 2014 at 10:42 am -

    Not quite true. Screen Producers Assn have made pleas with Canberra over the issue. Even at the AACTA Awards AFI President Geoffrey Rush said “we know what you’re doing” or words to that effect.

  35. gabbo February 15, 2014 at 10:27 am -

    “Another option that some stakeholders have raised with me……” says Brandis. Would these stakeholders be the actual creators of the intellectual property (TV programmes/movies etc) or would they happen to be the purchasers/resellers e.g Foxtel? The beginning of the Coalition’s payback to News Corp for its unwavering support? Surely not.

  36. db February 15, 2014 at 7:50 am -

    Any hardcore entertainment fan will know how to find content on the Internet irrespective of what governments force ISPs to do. Content providers need to start treating the Australian viewing public with respect.
    * provide content in HD
    * provide it in a timely manner
    * stick to schedules so that PVRs have a semblance of reliability
    * and charge consumers an internationally comparable rate for their product

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