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iiNet walks out of piracy talks

ISP iiNet has laid the blame for piracy squarely on the entertainment industry, not the user.

Internet service provider (ISP) iiNet has laid the blame for piracy squarely on the entertainment industry, not the user.

(Credit: iiNet)

The music and movie industry is currently in talks with a number of ISPs around the world, hoping to come up with a notice system to reduce copyright violations. The system would inform users that their piratical activities have been noticed.

However, iiNet has walked away from the table, saying that copyright infringement is just a "symptom", and that the real problem is about access to content for consumers.

Speaking in an official blog post, iiNet chief regulatory officer Steve Dalby was very vocal about the ISP's reasons for abandoning the talks.

The rights holders are still insisting ISPs should perform work on their behalf, instead of addressing what we have always said is the root cause of the infringements — the limited accessibility to desirable content and the discriminatory and high cost of content in Australia. Infringements are a symptom; access is the problem.

The other issue is that the proposed notice scheme would force ISPs to retain customer data in order to monitor their online behaviour. According to Dalby:

iiNet won't support any scheme that forces ISPs to retain data in order to allow for the tracking of customer behaviour and the status of any alleged infringements against them.

Collecting and retaining additional customer data at this level is inappropriate, expensive and, most importantly, not our responsibility.

We've been over this before. The High Court spoke loud and clear in their verdict when they ruled categorically that ISPs have no obligation to protect the rights of third parties, and we're not prepared to harass our customers when the industry has no clear obligation to do so.