9 October 2012: Consumer advocacy group the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has issued a position statement discussing consumers and copyright law, particularly in regards to the issue of illegal downloading and online copyright infringement.
The paper tackles some of the issues surrounding the protection of consumer rights at a time where strengthening of online copyright protection is being considered. The paper recommends that any approach to combatting online piracy must ensure that copyright protects the interests of the entire community, does not restrict access to communications and does not penalise legitimate online activity.
The paper also proposes that any new laws must be simple and relevant to the changed copyright environment. In particular, ACCAN advocates for more technology neutral ‘fair use’ and ‘fair dealing exceptions to copyright, and a recognised right for consumers to record and transfer lawfully acquired content to different media for personal use.
The paper suggests that online piracy points to a ‘market failure’ and advocates and industry led approach to the provision of affordable content to combat widespread online piracy. They argue that meeting market demand should be the responsibility of industry.
Finally, the paper suggests that the development of any ‘notification scheme’ whereby individual copyright infringers are warned by notice from their ISP must ensure that consumers are entitled to independent review of accusations made against them, that privacy of individuals is respected, and that individuals are not subject to penalties that would disconnect their internet access.
You can read more about the Copyright and Consumers position statement from ACCAN here.