Australian Content Industry Group spokeswoman Sabiene Heindl pens an editorial in The Australian praising the recent deal between Internet Service providers and content creators in the United States (you know the deal that has basically turned ISP's into Internet traffic cops). Heindl starts out by calling the deal "good news for anyone who has released an album, made a movie, developed a video game or software, or written a book anywhere in the world."
ISP's including AT&T, Cablevision, and Comcast, have hammered out a deal to control their subscribers who engage in online copyright infringement. Those content providers include such notable companies as Walt Disney, Paramount, Universal Music, and Sony Music Entertainment.
Heindl also claims that it is "good news for consumers because it means content creators and the ISPs who deliver their content are extending often existing partnerships to ensure that it's as easy as possible for consumers to access and enjoy it." She further claims that the reason this has happened sooner is because of "online piracy."
Heindl goes on to praise similar efforts in other countries including France, South Korea, New Zealand, and Britain. She says that the core of the U.S. agreement is similar to what her interest group, the Australian Content Industry Group (ACIG), recently proposed in Australia.
The U.S. agreement directs ISPs to send "warnings and alerts" to subscribers who are allegedly infringing copyrights online, with "escalating urgency, where there is evidence that illegal file-sharing is occurring on their internet account." Forget for a moment the fact that there is no appeals process if you are a subscriber who feels that you are falsely accused when these first warnings and alerts are sent to you...
She claims this new "voluntary agreement" is meant to "educate the user about the damage illegal file-sharing does to the content industries and to encourage them to access movies, music and other content from legal sites in a way that supports creators." The agreement also includes "mitigation measures for those who repeatedly ignore the warnings," and it "does not involve terminating internet accounts."
Heindl says that research shows that "up to 70 percent of users will stop illegally file-sharing after they receive a warning and face the threat of potential sanctions if they continue."
Here's an important excerpt from the article:
"The significance of the US agreement cannot be overstated. It has proved wrong all those people who thought the content industries and the ISPs could never come to a voluntary agreement in a market as big and as complex as the US.
It also demonstrates very clearly that the ISPs now recognise they have enough skin in the game to want to see the playing field levelled for the creation and distribution of content.
Creative industries have embraced the new digital business models enabled by broadband and wireless technology -- allowing them to provide consumers with great new services over the web, IPTV and mobile phones.
In fact, both the videogame and music industries make more than a third of their revenue from digital sources. In Australia, many creative industries and ISPs already have partnerships to provide legitimate content to Australian consumers -- Telstra's BigPond Music is just one example."
Ultimately Heindl's point in writing the editorial is to push for a similar system in Australia:
"The US agreement should encourage content providers and ISPs in Australia to continue talking and to work harder to come up with a commercial, negotiated scheme that works for everyone, including consumers. There need not be a winner or loser. Everyone can benefit from this."
Source: The Australian