The Australian government's Attorney-General's Department will not confirm whether it is discussing new policies against online copyright infringement with internet service providers (ISPs).
First reported by The Australian, the new Liberal government is alleged to have contacted Australian telecommunications providers and content creators to restart previously failed discussions on copyright infringement.
CNET's sister site ZDNet contacted the Attorney-General's Department to confirm whether the meetings will take place but was given a stock response attributed to the current Attorney-General George Brandis.
"The Australian Law Reform Commission is currently conducting an inquiry into Copyright and the Digital Economy. The government will consider the recommendations of the final report when it is received in November 2013," Brandis said in the statement, which was nearly identical to one received on the same topic from the previous Labor government.
According to ZDNet, the ALRC's work on the topic is in contradiction to the terms of reference for the inquiry, which says it should not duplicate other work already being completed on copyright infringement over peer-to-peer networks, like BitTorrent.
An agreement to more strongly enforce rules against online copyright infringement could see sites that promote or allow access to infringing material, primarily shared over the BitTorrent P2P network, blocked from public view. A policy that sees repeat infringers disconnected from the internet, as happens in the US, is also a possibility. These alleged meetings could happen alongside continued discussion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement currently taking place, which also includes elements of copyright protection.
Previous discussions on online copyright infringement failed in late 2012 when industry heavy-hitter iiNet left talks, blaming other government measures like the since-ditched data-retention policy for stalling negotiations. iiNet confirmed to ZDNet that it has not received any invitation to take part in the renewed meetings and neither has the independent not-for-profit Australian Copyright Council.
Copyright infringement happening online remains a hot topic around the world. The "three strikes" policy used in the US, the UK and other countries has been recently suggested to be ineffective, while popular torrent search engine Isohunt.com was shut down after a long court battle with the US copyright enforcement body the Motion Picture Association of America.