Talks between Australian Internet service providers and rightsholders aimed at finding a way through the thorny issue of online piracy stumbled last year. Now they’ve ground to a halt.
When three years of discussions yielded no results, in November 2008 Hollywood movie studios under the banner of the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) sued local ISP iiNet. AFACT hoped that through legal action all ISPs could be held responsible for copyright infringements carried out by their customers.
In April 2012 the case came to a close, Hollywood lost, and it was back to the drawing board alongside fresh hopes for peaceful settlement.
Ever since, intermittent negotiations have continued between the ISPs and rightsholders, in the hope that the former would agree to implement some kind of graduated response/warning system on behalf of the latter in order to positively influence the behavior of pirating customers.
Last December, iiNet withdrew from the talks, declaring they’d had enough of dealing with rightsholders who refuse to make official content available at a reasonable price.
And now, six months later, with no further talks having taken place since, it seems the whole initiative has ground to a halt. David Epstein, chief of ISP Optus, told The Australian that his company could now back iiNet’s stance.
“We support a co-operative resolution to the issue but this requires general consensus among players and like treatment of any participant in a trial. We have not yet seen a model that enables this,” he said.
Despite voices to the contrary, the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) said that the talks hadn’t been abandoned and hope remains that an agreement can be reached. After suing iiNet and failing, they have few options left.