Australia’s ‘Three-Strikes’ Piracy Plan Is On Hold

Remember when copyright holders were planning a “three-strikes” scheme in Australia? You know, the one where Internet Service providers would have to send a letter each time you er, “acquired” the latest episode of Game of Thrones without paying for it? And if you got three in a year you’d be taken to court?

It was supposed to begin in September this year, but has been put on hold until April next year after the ISPs and copyright holders couldn’t reach an agreement on who would be responsible for the costs involved in administrating such a huge undertaking — which includes the letters themselves, contacting offenders and answering the anticipated influx of angry phone calls.

Last month Communications Alliance, the body representing Australia’s ISPs along with Foxtel (who was repping other rights holders like Village Roadshow and ARIA) sent a letter to the Australian Media and Communications Authority informing them of the decision.

“We were able to agree on the mechanics of the code and some elements of cost allocation,” Foxtel’s Bruce Meagher said. “However, we were unable to reach agreement on other significant commercial terms.”

Communications Alliance chief executive John Stanton penned the letter, asking the ACMA to not pursue any further recommendations or alternative scheme for 12 months — to which the ACMA agreed.

In the meantime, copyright holders are looking at alternatives to curb piracy, such as education and of course the ongoing website-blocking court action.

Foxtel and Village Roadshow got the ball rolling in March, taking advantage of legislation passed in February 2015 that allows content rights holders to apply for an order to block websites that facilitate piracy in Australia. The sites being targeted are The Pirate Bay, SolarMovie, Torrentz, TorrentHound and IsoHunt.

Then in April Universal Music, Warner Music, Sony Music and Australasian Performing Right Association/Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society Music (APRA AMCOS) applied to have torrent site Kickass Torrents blocked from Australian users. This case has been put on hold, pending the results from Foxtel and Village Roadshow’s case.

Expect these to drag on for a little while yet — responsibility for costs are part of the negotiations for these cases as well, since ISPs will need to enforce the site blocking, if granted.