Thursday, November 23, 2006

Proposed Copyright laws turn all Australian to Criminals

I was shocked to read;
“a family who holds a birthday picnic in a place of public entertainment (for example, the grounds of a zoo) and sings ‘Happy Birthday’ in a manner that can be heard by others, risks an infringement notice carrying a fine of up to $1320. If they make a video recording of the event, they risk a further fine for the possession of a device for the purpose of making an infringing copy of a song. And if they go home and upload the clip to the internet where it can be accessed by others, they risk a further fine of up to $1320 for illegal distribution. All in all, possible fines of up to $3960 for this series of acts – and the new offences do not require knowledge or improper intent. Just the doing of the acts is enough to ground a legal liability under the new ‘strict liability’ offenses.”
$3960 Australian dollars fine for having a birthday party, singing and posting the party video on the net so grandma could watch it! The words comes to my mind cannot be typed here. I am sure this is what might happen here if MPAA and RIAA had upperhand, not that they don't.

I read the article on Internet Industry Association, IIA, which represents a broad range of internet businesses in Australia, in conjunction with the QUT Law Faculty Intellectual Property Research Program, has identified a number of scenarios which could trip up Australians in their everyday use of copyrighted materials.

Said IIA chief executive, Peter Coroneos: “We can’t be sure if this is the government's intent, or whether there has been a terrible oversight in the drafting of this Bill. Either way, the consequences for the average Australian family could be devastating.”

It gets even uglier as you read more on the site; see this scenario, taken from the risks for teenagers due to the new law pdf;

Kate and her classmates, having finished Year 12, spend a night on the town. At the restaurant they break into spontaneous song with a medley of hits, much to the entertainment of the other diners. Ellie captures the performance on her mobile phone’s video feature and posts it to her MySpace page for the world to see. People find the clip hilarious and thousands of people view it.

Depending on whether the restaurant holds a performance license, the girls may be infringing through an unauthorized performance. This is a criminal offence. (Section 132AN). This potentially involves two criminal offences.
The possession of a device for making an infringing copy (Section 132AL) and the distribution of an infringing copy (of the song/s) Section 132AN contains strict liability offence provisions for which maximum fines of $6600 per work (ie. song) applies. Section 132AL carries a maximum fine of $6600 when prosecuted as a strict liability offence. The copying of each song is a separate offence. Section 132AI for the distribution offence/s (as above).

Are you sick yet. You can get all the information at IIA site. If you are an Australian, and you would like to express your concern over the proposed changes, please write to the Attorney-General, the Hon. Phillip Ruddock, at

PO Box 1866
Hornsby Westfield NSW 1635


PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600

Or call:

Telephone at parliament house: (02) 6277 7300
Telephone at electorate office: (02) 9482 7111

Who wrote those laws, Kangaroos and Dingos?

Internet Industry Association,AU
The proposed changes to the Bill can be found by visitng http://parlinfoweb.aph.gov.au/ then clicking on "browse" > "legislation" > "current bills by title" > "Copyright amendment bill 2006".
Another view

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