Copyright infringement scheme a "waste of time": Exetel

The ISP's chief executive, John Linton, claims the scheme will have no influence

The copyright infringement scheme put forward by the Communications Alliance and major Australian ISPs has been labelled a “waste of time” by John Linton, chief executive of internet service provider Exetel.

Telstra Bigpond, iiNet, Optus, iPrimus and Internode have all joined the industry body in compiling the discussion paper (PDF).

The scheme will target internet users who breach the Copyright Act 1968 by downloading unauthorised copies of movies and other copyright material, and ISPs would be required to send education and warning notices to customers whose internet accounts may have been used for file sharing.

Linton told Computerworld Australia that while Exetel wasn’t invited to participate in the scheme, it would have declined on the basis that it would be ineffective.

“Based on its contents — it will have absolutely no influence at all... other [than] to prove to the rights holders that ISPs will do everything possible not to play any meaningful part in protecting copyright unless legislation is passed,” Linton said.

“It is a timid start to addressing the issue that is far too limited and far too cumbersome.”

Linton agreed with the rejection of the scheme by the Australian Content Industry Group (ACIG), which represents organisations including the Copyright Agency Limited, Microsoft, Australian Record Industry Association (ARIA), the Business Software Alliance (BSA), Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (IGEA) and the Music Industry Piracy Investigations (MIPI), on the basis that it did not meet industry expectations.

“It does nothing at all to address the problem of copyright infringement… I believe no ISP should be ‘saddled’ with the job of assisting any other commercial entity protecting its 'rights' unless, and until, the Australian Federal parliament enacts legislation that spells out exactly what is required of ISPs.

“You will never get a bunch of self-interested parties to ever agree on anything of their own volition. The nonsense expressed in the current document makes that crystal clear.”

According to Linton, copyright infringement “is of no direct concern to Exetel as a commercial entity”.

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