Tuesday, November 29th 2011
Well, it looks like Big Content finally got to them, because Australia's five major ISPs (Telstra Bigpond, iiNet, Optus, iPrimus and Internode) are all ganging up together in a group called The Communications Alliance to screw over their customers in the name of Big Content. They are going to start sending out warning letters to their customers on mere accusations of copyright infringement, as part of an 18-month trial. These warning letters, termed "educational notices" to spin them as some sort of favour to their customers, would be sent on apparent evidence of infringement, based on IP address – that same method that has proven to be so unreliable, especially against home users, many times over. If their customer still doesn't get it, after three of these "educational notices", the copyright holder gets to enjoy pursuing the "offender" through the courts. The real tragedy, is the way that all this is based on an assumption that file sharing causes lost sales, as they state themselves that the effect is impossible to prove and hence rely on statutory damages. Big Content has never proved it and indeed several studies have shown that file sharing doesn't actually hurt sales and often has a positive effect, as we reported here. The big surprise out of this lot, is to see plucky ISP iiNet in this hall of shame since they were the ISP who'd fought the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) who had argued "that the ISP infringed copyright by failing to take reasonable steps — including enforcing its own terms and conditions — to prevent customers from copying films and TV shows over its network." - and actually won.