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Choice takes campaign against 'internet filter' to Canberra

A new ad campaign from Choice is calling on politicians to "work smart, not hard" against piracy, while the group says Australia should legalise the circumvention of geoblocking.

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Choice's campaign against the Government's proposed "internet filter". Screen capture by Claire Reilly

Consumer advocacy group Choice is bringing its fight against mandatory website blocking to Canberra with a new campaign targeted at the Federal Government.

The advertisement also ties in with the group's submission to the Attorney-General's review of copyright policy, in which Choice advises amendments to the Copyright Act to legalise circumvention of geoblocking.

Choice's crowd-sourced ad campaign features a fictional 'Minister for the Internet' taking aim at the Government's moves towards a so-called "internet filter" -- a proposed policy that requires the mandatory ISP-level blocking of overseas websites that facilitate piracy.

While the ad was launched on YouTube, Choice has also secured funding to air the advertisement on free-to-air television in Canberra. Of the Canberra focus, Choice campaigns manager Erin Turner said the campaign was calling on politicians to "work smart, not hard" to combat piracy.

"Australians are frustrated with not being able to access and pay for timely and affordable content," she said. "Forcing Internet Service Providers to monitor and prevent copyright infringement through the use of an internet filter is not the answer.

"The solution to this problem is removing the barriers that stop Australians from purchasing legitimate content from the global market."

The focus on access to legitimate content is reiterated in Choice's submission to the Attorney-General's Department, which argues that a policy to block overseas websites "would place an enormous amount of power in the hands of content owners," and would "effectively create an industry-run internet filter".

The submission recommends a number of alternative measures to prevent piracy, including monitoring of international price disparity on digital products, removal of parallel import restrictions and amending the copyright law to legalise consumer circumvention of geoblocking. Choice also advises that, if these measures did not work, businesses should be restricted from using or enforcing geoblocking.

The new ad campaign from Choice will air from today.