QUT IP submission on copyright infringement website blocking Bill

Here is our submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee’s review of the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015. We argue that safeguards are necessary to ensure human rights are adequately protected. All systems of blocking access to online content necessarily raise difficult and problematic issues of infringement of freedom of speech and Read more about QUT IP submission on copyright infringement website blocking Bill[…]

QUT Submission to Australian copyright notice scheme

We have just lodged our submission to the Communications Alliance draft industry code to introduce a copyright notice scheme.

In making this submission, we suggest that Australia learn from the experiences of other jurisdictions, and avoid some of the mistakes that have been made. In particular, this involves:

  • Ensuring that adequate information is available to evaluate the success of the scheme
  • Ensuring that notices sent to consumers provide full and accurate information that helps them understand their rights and options

  • Limiting the potential abuse of the system, and particularly attempts to intimidate consumers into paying unfair penalties through ‘speculative invoicing’

  • Avoiding the potential for actual or perceived bias in the scheme’s oversight body

You can view the submission here.
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Can you copyright a feeling? Blurred Lines may be the biggest music copyright case of 2015

By Nicolas Suzor, Queensland University of Technology and Kylie Pappalardo, Queensland University of Technology The year is still young, but this week a judgement was handed down in what may well be the biggest music case of 2015. Marvin Gaye’s children have won a copyright law suit against Robin Thicke (no stranger to controversy) and Read more about Can you copyright a feeling? Blurred Lines may be the biggest music copyright case of 2015[…]

The game of clones and the Australia tax: divergent views about copyright business models and the willingness of Australian consumers to infringe

In a forthcoming issue of the UNSW Law Journal, Paula Dootson and I write about the effect of restrictive copyright licensing practices on the willingness of consumers to infringe copyright. This builds on Paula’s PhD work, and we present qualitative evidence to support the common intuition that the lack of access to legitimate content distribution channels increases the willingness of consumers to infringe copyright. But surpisingly, consumers do want to pay for access at a fair price if they can, and they’ll go to significant lengths to do it (like setting up a VPN to access netflix or itunes from another region).

We’ve made a pre-publication draft of the article available.
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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.

What these steps might be is very vague. They 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 move comes in response to claims that Australians are among the biggest downloaders of films and television series. Under intense pressure from Hollywood and Foxtel, the government wants to do something to combat copyright infringement.
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Free-riding, cooperation, and ‘peaceful revolutions’ in copyright (post-print draft)

I have a new article in press with the Harvard Journal of Law & Technology. I’m interested in comments on the post-print draft. Abstract:

Modern copyright law is based on the inescapable assumption that users, given the choice, will free-ride rather than pay for access. In fact, many consumers of cultural works – music, books, films, games, and other works – fundamentally want to support their production. It turns out that humans are motivated to support cultural production not only by extrinsic incentives, but also by social norms of fairness and reciprocity. This article explains how producers across the creative industries have used this insight to develop increasingly sophisticated business models that rely on voluntary payments (including pay-what-you-want schemes) to fund their costs of production.

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Fairness in copyright – or why rates of infringement are so high

Here’s a paragraph from an article I’m writing about free-riding. It distils my argument about the role of fairness in copyright, and why the industry is only harming itself when it does things like make Game of Thrones only available on Foxtel: In recent decades, the copyright industries have been losing the normative high ground. Read more about Fairness in copyright – or why rates of infringement are so high[…]

Drake IP 2013: Deidre Keller, ‘Why intellectual property needs property’

Liveblogged from Drake IP Roundtable 2013. Deidre Keller makes the argument that IP is property, and maybe that’s not such a bad thing. If we appreciate property in a more nuanced sense, the fact that it is property is less trouble. Keller argues that limitations from property should inform limitations in copyright, patents, and trade Read more about Drake IP 2013: Deidre Keller, ‘Why intellectual property needs property’[…]

Drake IP 2013: Seagull Haiyan Song: protection of AV works in China

Liveblogged from Drake IP Roundtable 2013. Seagull Haiyan Song presents a study of IP in films in China. The creator of films does not necessarily own the copyright. This might be problematic. Issues: definition of AV works; identifying an author (for moral rights particularly); ownership (in the US, it’s quite straightforward – based on the Read more about Drake IP 2013: Seagull Haiyan Song: protection of AV works in China[…]

Drake IP Roundtable 2013: Kristelia Garcia: Extra-legal rights accretion

Liveblogged from Drake IP Roundtable 2013. Garcia is concerned about the way copyright is modified — expanded or contracted — by private actors. Expansion by overlicensing: rights are expanded because people are risk averse, licensing then becomes a norm, and this then becomes another stick in the bundle of rights. Caused by (a) copyright trolls; Read more about Drake IP Roundtable 2013: Kristelia Garcia: Extra-legal rights accretion[…]