Content Cafe


Government inaction on take-down code dismays stakeholders

by Amy Pettinger, Creative Content Australia — 17/12/2919

The ACCC digital platforms report released by the Federal Government last week was a disappointment for content creators and others who want to see platforms limit or block access to illegal content.

The Government did not support the ACCC’s recommendation to have the Australian Communications and Media Authority develop and implement a mandatory take-down code which would have required the digital platforms to collaborate with rightsholders to pro-actively identify and prevent the distribution of infringing works online.

However, acknowledging the problem, the Government did undertake to review the policy settings for online copyright enforcement in late 2020.

The proposed mandatory take-down code would have ensured the effective and timely removal of copyright protected content on digital platforms.

The Government said it did not support the recommendation due to the potential unintended effects of a code across a diverse copyright market. A spokesperson told The Australian: “To get the settings right, more data and further consultation with a broader range of copyright stakeholders, digital platforms and consumer groups is needed to determine appropriate options for reducing the availability of infringing material on digital platforms.”

Village Roadshow chief executive Graham Burke told the newspaper: “The ACCC spent a year doing this inquiry so the Government should do what the ACCC recommended — get the platforms to proactively identify and prevent the stuff being online.”

Seven West Media chief executive James Warburton told the Australian that while he was disappointed with the decision not to pursue the take-down code it is “pleasing that the Government has committed to reviewing copyright enforcement mechanisms during 2020.”

Foxtel chief executive Patrick Delany also welcomed the Government’s decision to review copyright. “It is encouraging that the government and the ACCC have now acknowledged the troves of unauthorised copyright content hosted by digital platforms is a material problem. This is a positive step forward,” he said. “We are pleased the Government has decided to do further work to develop an effective solution to what is a significant and growing problem.”

Paul Muller, chief executive of the Australia New Zealand Screen Association, echoed this view, stating: “We encourage representatives from Australia’s various copyright sectors to work collaboratively to identify the most effective ways to prevent access to infringing content on or via digital platforms. This is essential for the health of Australia’s creative sector.”