March 2015.  From our comments on the Copyright Notice Scheme Industry Code* draft:

In the Objectives of the Code 1.4.1 (a) (ii) you state that your aim is to "improve knowledge of Australian internet users as to which online activities can constitute copyright infringement". A large variety of 'online activities' fall into this category (e.g. email, DropBox, YouTube, etc...). Hence, we believe that Australian internet users should be informed about which specific files are illegal to download, upload or otherwise share, rather than which activities have the potential to breach copyright.

The online activity of using peer-to-peer networks (e.g. BitTorrent) to download and/or upload files, which is most often associated with copyright infringement, is not per se unlawful1. A large amount of files shared via peer-to-peer networks do not breach copyright, and in many cases it is not possible to determine whether downloading a particular file is illegal.

We propose that copyright holders should be required to make all their claims available to users before they are able to monitor user activity with the intent of sending copyright infringement notices. Torrent users could then check torrent files for claims in order to make informed decisions about whether or not to download them. This would constitute them taking reasonable steps to prevent copyright infringement, evidence of which could be presented to the Adjudication Panel as part of their 'Challenge Notice' (Objectives of the Code 3.10) in order to protect themselves from copyright infringement allegations.

As a practical realisation of this measure, we have developed a website (www.torrenttags.com) where copyright holders from all over the world can declare ownership of the content that they don't want to be distributed via torrents. Our system facilitates the prevention of copyrighted content downloads by informing users directly about whether the torrent files they download contain copyright infringing content. Torrent users can check torrents for claims on our site by entering a torrent hash.

We believe that inclusion of our proposal into the Copyright Notice Scheme Industry Code will enhance it, providing greater equity for users in the Challenge Process.


1 "Peer-to-Peer File Sharing: the Legal Landscape", Australian Vice-Chancellors' Committee, November 2003, https://www.universitiesaustralia.edu.au/ArticleDocuments/419/PeertoPeer.pdf.aspx


* A draft of Copyright Notice Scheme Industry Code was released by Communications Alliance LTD (Australia) for public comment on February, 20 2015, http://www.commsalliance.com.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/47570/DR-C653-2015.pdf

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