iiNet walks out of piracy talks

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Nic Healey can usually be found on a couch muttering about aspect ratios and 7.1 channel sound - which is helpful given that he's the home entertainment guy at CNET.

Internet service provider (ISP) iiNet has laid the blame for piracy squarely on the entertainment industry, not the user.

(Credit: iiNet)

The music and movie industry is currently in talks with a number of ISPs around the world, hoping to come up with a notice system to reduce copyright violations. The system would inform users that their piratical activities have been noticed.

However, iiNet has walked away from the table, saying that copyright infringement is just a "symptom", and that the real problem is about access to content for consumers.

Speaking in an official blog post, iiNet chief regulatory officer Steve Dalby was very vocal about the ISP's reasons for abandoning the talks.

The rights holders are still insisting ISPs should perform work on their behalf, instead of addressing what we have always said is the root cause of the infringements — the limited accessibility to desirable content and the discriminatory and high cost of content in Australia. Infringements are a symptom; access is the problem.

The other issue is that the proposed notice scheme would force ISPs to retain customer data in order to monitor their online behaviour. According to Dalby:

iiNet won't support any scheme that forces ISPs to retain data in order to allow for the tracking of customer behaviour and the status of any alleged infringements against them.

Collecting and retaining additional customer data at this level is inappropriate, expensive and, most importantly, not our responsibility.

We've been over this before. The High Court spoke loud and clear in their verdict when they ruled categorically that ISPs have no obligation to protect the rights of third parties, and we're not prepared to harass our customers when the industry has no clear obligation to do so.

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joytech22 posted a comment   

Oh my god, iiNet you awesome sons of b**ches.
This is 100% true.

I mean seriously.. $14 for a movie online? DVD QUALITY..
$24 for HD movies etc..

Come on, you can get this stuff cheaper at the inconvenience of walking into a physical shop! Then you are stuck with a physical disk.. ugh.

Online has only one cost - Hosting.
The cost has NO reason to be the same or higher than physical copies.


Chandler posted a reply   

"Then you are stuck with a physical disk.."
Not only that, but you also have a physical disk which you can quite easily copy for a backup (if you purchased the disk) and then use the file backup to sync and stream to your devices.

Apart from the pricing issue, the other major problem I have with digital purchases is the conditions that are placed on them: why should purchasing content digitally or physically be different?

Take the Ultraviolet system in the US: you're not purchasing ownership of a copy of the content as you would with a DVD, which your use of is then governed by your country's laws and regulations. No, purchases through the Ultraviolet system are merely buying 'permission' to play the content, in the methods allowed for by the content owner. All control is still within the hands of the content owner/distributor, who can then take those allowances away whenever they chose (say, a year after you purchases those 'permissions').
DVDs don't expire after 12 months...

I'm growing tired of the battle against the media industry to actually do something real against piracy. In my opinion, they just need to do two simple things:

1. Ditch DRM. It doesn't work anyway. I want to watch content when, where and how I want to watch it, just like I would a DVD I have backed up.

2. Sell content digitally the same way you would a DVD: just give us an AVI / MP4 / MKV / etc file, and leave us to enjoy your content. Stop trying to control us by using proprietary systems...

Ok, this will make your content easier to pirate; but it will make your content less pirated as the methods of legitimate access are easy, reasonably priced, and essentially the same as purchasing it physically.

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