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Illegal downloads may cost you thousands of dollars in fines

Over the last couple of years there has been talk about preventing people from illegally downloading movies, music, TV episodes and software. Until recently, despite all of the threats, nothing has eventuated, but now it seems that those threats are coming true, and downloading free content from pirate sites may soon involve hefty fines.

The new Copyright Notice Scheme Industry Code

Telstra, Optus, iiNet and other ISPs have come together to end free pirated downloads with the establishment of the Copyright Notice Scheme Industry Code – currently in draft form.

This code was initiated at the request of the Federal Government and involves a ‘3 hits and you are out’ scheme. This means that if you illegally download content from the internet you will receive a notice from your ISP within 7 days, telling you to cease and desist.

If you continue to download pirated content you will be sent a warning notice and then a final notice. Detection of illegal downloads is fairly easy using your IP address and with the massive loss in revenue, it is no wonder that the big entertainment industries are pressuring governments to put an end to illegal downloads.

The final notice will advise you to seek legal counsel and if all 3 notices are sent within one 12 month period, the copyright holder can ask the ISP to disclose your IP address. They can then apply to the courts for your name and address and sue you for illegally downloading their content. Engaging a company that specialises in managed IT services in Brisbane will help to protect your business from illegal downloads.

Problems with this new code

The Consumer Advocate Choice Magazine has stated that this code is too heavy handed and is likely to drag many Australians into court over illegal downloads. There appears to be little protection to the consumer in the draft code, with no limits on penalties and essentially turning ISPs into public enforcers.

More alarmingly, your personal details can be given to the copyright holders before you have even been found guilty of a crime. Even worse, there have been reports of copyright holders sending alleged infringers a notice to pay a certain amount of money or they will be sued.

The current form of this draft code seems to forget that people are innocent before proven guilty and if ratified, ISPs will no longer be seen as protecting their customers, but as enforcers.

Choice believes the reason that most people illegally download content is because there is no other way to access this content in Australia or it is too expensive. So as an alternative to hounding consumers into the court system, why not make access to popular content more available and cheaper for the Australian people?

For more information on IT solutions and managed IT services in Brisbane for your business, phone us on 07 3333 2122.