Google to AU Govt: piracy is down to pricing, availability

In a submission to the Australian Government, Google has said that harsh regulation is not the solution to piracy, which is the result of poor "availability and pricing".

In a submission to the Australian Government, Google has said that harsh regulation is not the solution to piracy, which is the result of poor "availability and pricing".

The world's most pirated show is Game of Thrones. (Credit: HBO)

In November last year, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull called for submissions from Australian communications organisations suggesting regulatory reforms. The idea behind the Deregulation Initiatives in the Communications Sector was to streamline regulation, possibly removing sections where they are no longer appropriate for current technologies.

One of the submissions came from Google, which told the Government that "overly harsh" regulation is counter-productive.

The web giant detailed sections of the Australian legal code that simply do not work when applied to the internet. "Australia's copyright laws dealing with the digital world cover many pages of complex and detailed regulation which do not work for the internet and the digital economy (for example, basic internet functions such as search indexing and crawling are not covered by a specific exception in Australian copyright law)," Google wrote.

Caching, Google noted, is covered within three separate sections in the Telecommunications Act, making it difficult for a service provide to operate with legal certainty, and that Section 313 of the Act -- which states that carriage service providers must prevent telco facilities from being used in or relation to illegal activity -- is overly broad and could be misused to impact the availability of information on the web.

The company also stated that harsh regulation will not solve the piracy problem. "We believe there is significant, credible evidence emerging that online piracy is primarily an availability and pricing problem," the company wrote.

"Google takes many steps to work with copyright owners to protect the rights of copyright owners online. We would encourage the Government to promote new business models and a free marketplace for legal purchasing of content. We would be disappointed if the Government decided to go down the route of overly harsh regulation to combat piracy without considering the evidence from around the world that this would likely be costly for businesses to implement and with little effect."

You can read Google's full submission on the Communications website.

 

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