Forced negotiations and industry codes won’t stop illegal downloads

Attorney-General George Brandis and Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced yesterday that they expect internet service providers (ISPs) to work with copyright owners to help police infringement.

ISPs will have to agree to a new industry code that passes on warning notices to their customers when copyright owners make allegations of infringement against them. They will also have to start handing over the personal details of subscribers who have several allegations against their name.

The government also plans to introduce an obligation for ISPs to block access to file sharing websites such as The Pirate Bay.

These announcements are better than the government’s last attempt to force ISPs to negotiate, which would have made a mess out of copyright law for everyone. But there are still real problems, and the measures will probably increase the cost of internet access for little, if any, benefit.

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QUT IP calls on Australian Government to address the book famine for people with disabilities

QUT’s Intellectual Property and Innovation Law Research program has lodged a submission to the Attorney-General’s Department calling on the Australian Government to take clear positive steps to address the book famine. The book famine is a massive an ongoing problem. Around to world, an estimated 285 million people are visions impaired. Despite more than 129 million book titles being available worldwide, persons with print disabilities in developed countries only have access to less than 7 per cent of this vast resource.
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OpenMedia release ‘Our Digital Future: A crowdsourced agenda for free expression’

For the past two years, OpenMedia have been working on a multi-platform, crowdsourced initiative to prepare an agenda to reform copyright legislation across the world.

OpenMedia have just released their final report. The report aims to inspire greater transparency in legislative reform and to give voice to the millions of Internet users usually silenced in political debates.
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QUT IP Movie Night – 16 October, 2014

The QUT Intellectual Property Law Program is hosting a movie night!

Join us for an evening to enjoy this must see 2014 film. This is a great opportunity to meet others who share an interest in intellectual property law.
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We need more transparency: When does Google hand over your data to governments?

Originally posted on The Conversation by Nic Suzor and Alex Button-Sloan

Governments around the world want to know a lot about who we are and what we’re doing online and they want communications companies to help them find it. We don’t know a lot about when companies hand over this data, but we do know that it’s becoming increasingly common.

Google has released its latest Transparency Report which shows a rapid increase in the amount of requests it receives for access to private data.

Requests from government agencies worldwide for user data from Google.

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Seminar: The leaked copyright infringement draft (7 August 2014)

Careers & Current Awareness in Intellectual Property: “Getting Involved in Reforming Copyright: An Overview and an Opportunity for Students” (7 August 2014)

When: Thursday 7 August 2014, 5:00pm
Where: QUT GP Campus, P Block, Level 4, Room P419

In a discussion paper circulated by Attorney-General George Brandis, and leaked by Crikey last Friday, the government proposed a sweeping change to Australian copyright law. If implemented, it would force ISPs to take ‘reasonable steps’ to prevent Australians from infringing copyright. These steps could include blocking peer-to-peer traffic, slowing down internet connections, passing on warnings from industry groups, and handing over subscriber details to copyright owners. The proposed amendments could also dramatically broaden the range of actors who may be liable for infringing acts. This is potentially very concerning for universities, schools, libraries, cloud service providers, and other organisations who provide internet services that can be used to infringe copyright.

Join us for a discussion of the proposed amendments and how you might be able to get involved in writing the QUT IP & Innovation Program’s law reform submission to the public consultation process.

Speakers will be:

  • Dr Nic Suzor (QUT Law School)
  • Alex Button-Sloan (Research Asst, QUT Law School)

Please send RSVPs to Nicolas Suzor <n.suzor@qut.edu.au>.

The QUT Intellectual Property Program hosts a series of discussions aimed at giving assistance to students interested in career opportunities in the intellectual property field, and to provide awareness about current events in IP. The series will help QUT students understand what it takes to be an IP professional, what jobs are available in the field, and give guidance on how to network effectively in IP. It provides awareness of current cases and law reform issues of relevance to students interested in IP and hoping to work in the field.

Any queries can be sent to Dan Hunter, Professor of Intellectual Property and Innovation, QUT Law School dan.hunter@qut.edu.au.


Brandis’ leaked anti-piracy proposal is unrealistic

Originally posted on The Conversation by Nicolas Suzor and Alex Button-Sloan.

The Australian Government has proposed Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should monitor and punish Australians who download and infringe copyright.

In a discussion paper circulated by Attorney-General George Brandis, and leaked by Crikey last Friday, the government proposes a sweeping change to Australian copyright law that would force ISPs to take steps to prevent Australians from infringing copyright.
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Borrowing a Stairway to Heaven: did Led Zeppelin rip off a riff?

Originally posted in The Conversation by Nicolas Suzor and Eleanor Angel.

More than 40 years after the release of Stairway to Heaven, English rock band Led Zeppelin are facing allegations that its iconic guitar riff was stolen from Taurus, a song released in 1968 by the American rock band Spirit.

The two riffs are clearly similar: they share a four-bar instrumental guitar passage with similar harmony, tempo and stylistic features. Businessweek has created a short game where you can test your skill at telling the two apart.

But is this enough for Spirit to demand a share of the credit – and the royalties?

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