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IP Quick Intellect

Proposed copyright law overhaul – what could it mean for your social media activity?

Posted by on 13 Aug 2014

Proposed amendments to Australia’s Copyright laws have been making headlines in recent weeks.  According to a leaked copy of its discussion paper, the Australian federal government is proposing that internet service providers (ISPs), such as Telstra and Optus take measures to discourage or reduce online copyright infringement.  If such changes are implemented Australia would have some of the most stringent anti-piracy measures in the Western world.

The draft discussion paper set out various suggested amendments to copyright laws, including proposals to block overseas websites that host pirated content and to compel internet service providers (ISPs) to stop users illegally downloading movies and music.  The paper further proposes to make it easier for owners of copyright material to litigate if ISP’s don't takes steps to prevent their users illegally downloading content and to force ISPs to block access to sites hosting pirated content.  The proposed measures also include both a graduated response (“three strikes”) regime and internet filtering as measures to fight illegal file sharing.

If the proposals come in to force, they would overrule a 2012 High Court decision that found ISPs cannot be found liable for authorising an act by a subscriber infringing copyright.

Australia has been noted as being one of the worst offenders in illegally downloading content from file sharing sites and the proposed changes have been praised by film production companies and the music industry.

Critics of the proposed regime have noted that there is a real risk that if the radical changes are implemented, legitimate social networking sites, and their users, could find themselves in strife as it is possible that they could be caught by a filtering regime.  This will mean that all social media users will need to be even more cautious about the content that they post and share on ever growing array of social media platforms.

Watch this space for further news on the proposed amendments to copyright and anti-piracy laws.

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