ACCAN raises concerns about anti-piracy industry code

Consumers shouldn’t have to pay $25 to challenge a false claim made by a copyright holder, says ACCAN

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has argued that consumers shouldn’t have to pay $25 to challenge a false claim made by a copyright holder as it is a “fine by stealth.”

Under the proposed anti-piracy industry code, consumers would have to pay a $25 fee if they wanted to challenge a claim. However, there is a provision for fee waivers.

In a submission to the Communications Alliance about the industry code, ACCAN points out that dispute resolution schemes have been free. For example, the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman does not charge consumers if they want to dispute an issue with a telco.

“We believe it should be free to challenge a [copyright] notice,” said ACCAN CEO, Teresa Corbin, in a statement.

“The fee is essentially a fine by stealth with consumers forced to jump through bureaucratic hoops to get it waived.”

ACCAN also raised concerns about privacy in its submission.

The current draft of the industry code requires Internet service providers to retain records of customer downloads for a minimum of 24 months.

“Information collected under the code will be a treasure trove for hackers who could access information on potentially illegal activities, including download history,” Corbin said.

In addition, ACCAN said the code should be subject to a cost benefit analysis by the government’s Office of Best Practice regulation as no costings have been given.

Read more: Choice campaigns against 'Hollywood horror film' copyright code

“We still have no idea what this scheme will cost and many of its proposed benefits are spurious,” she said.

“It’s ironic that we are debating outdated costly regulation on the same day Netflix launches in Australia. A market solution providing affordable, available content will have the biggest impact on piracy.”

In February 2015, advocacy group Choice launched a campaign to push for more protections for consumers under the anti-piracy industry code.

Choice has argued that the system will allow large businesses to "drive average Australians into the court system".

Read more: Greens call for ACCC to block TPG's iiNet takeover

The scheme also forces Internet service providers to act as an anti-piracy police force on behalf of Hollywood rights holders, handing over personal contact details on the basis of unproven allegations, the group said at the time.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

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