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Australian Media 'Crooks' to Come in from the Cold 273

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the waiting-for-the-other-shoe-to-drop dept.
pagefault writes "News.com is reporting that millions of Australians who tape TV shows and copy CDs will soon get the right to do it with a clear conscience. From the article: 'The Federal Government will next year legalize the video recording of television shows for personal use, and the transfer of songs from CDs to MP3 players, in a bid to overturn a ban which has made criminals of much of the population."
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Australian Media 'Crooks' to Come in from the Cold

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 27, 2005 @10:31PM (#14349539)
    If everyone does it, then maybe its not so illegal.
    • You're forgetting that Australia is a nation that was founded by criminals. They are truly a nation where everyone was once a criminal.

      Brings a tear to my eye. Makes me want to sing!

      Oh say can you see, by the boot's glistening blue light, what so proudly we booted, the establishment of Fair Use
      • They were a penal colony founded on crimials, but their nation was definitely NOT founded on a basis of criminality, regardless of what the british thought at the time.
        • Much like America (Score:3, Insightful)

          by User 956 (568564)
          They were a penal colony founded on crimials, but their nation was definitely NOT founded on a basis of criminality, regardless of what the british thought at the time.

          That's much like America... from King George's point of view, America is a country founded by "terrorists". We practically *invented* guerilla warfare, for christ's sake.

          It's all a matter of perspective. My British friends celebrate July Fourth as "Good Riddance Day".
      • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Tuesday December 27, 2005 @10:54PM (#14349644) Homepage Journal
        You're forgetting that Australia is a nation that was founded by criminals. They are truly a nation where everyone was once a criminal.

        And more to the point, many of the people originally shipped to Australia were convicted of offences which would be considered barely criminal today, like stealing a loaf of bread (or copying a CD?).

        I wonder if any of the convicts on the First Fleet were sent over for stealing music? Sneaking into a concert hall for example?

        • by Anonymous Coward
          "many of the people originally shipped to Australia were convicted of offences which would be considered barely criminal today"

          This is not actually correct, but is a persistent myth. If you examine the records of who was on the ships for the first decade or so of transportation, almost universally they were people convicted of serious offences - murder, manslaughter, rape, serious theft and fraud. About the only ones who were probably innocent of any serious ill-doing were the quite substantial numbers of I
        • ... is still considered quite criminal by US law. Even by the slashdot crowd agrees that it's criminal (golly gee, it's physical property of which the victim is actually deprived!). I doubt that it's any different in Britain.
           
          Just because we don't send people to Australia for it doesn't make it not a crime. We don't send people to Australia for a lot of things these days.
          • Does that mean that if I steal a loaf of bread, that I get free airfare to Australia?
          • Of course many of them were sent there for being debtors. Now in the US, we just file bankrupcy. Although, maybe if we had debtors prisons, fewer people would plan to go into bankrupcy.
            • Re:Of course... (Score:2, Interesting)

              by Anonymous Coward
              Although, maybe if we had debtors prisons, fewer people would plan to go into bankrupcy.

              Not for long...
              To learn more about debtors prisons, see: American Revolution, Causes of...
          • But...the actions for trying to lift a loaf of bread don't really seem to fit the crime per se, but do so to keep the rest of the store's customers from doing it.

            But if that were also the case, then gas stations would be allowed to have remote-control semi-autonomous machine gun turrets on the roofs of their buildings to shoot drive-offs.
        • many of the people originally shipped to Australia were convicted of offences which would be considered barely criminal today, like stealing a loaf of bread (or copying a CD?)

          Of course, back then CD's were carefully carved out of wood by trained artisans. And the CD players were steam powered.

      • They are truly a nation where everyone was once a criminal.

        No, on several counts. Do you consider the British prison guards, governors, and other administrative personnel criminals? They were not. Many "free people" also immigrated from Britain much later after transportation of criminals from Britain ceased, they were not criminals either. Many people also immigrated from elsewhere (such as neighbouring Asian countries) into Australia under multiculturalism, these were not criminals either.
      • Makes me want to sing! Considering the how the RIAA acts, you probably shouldn't.
      • by nathanh (1214) on Tuesday December 27, 2005 @11:26PM (#14349764) Homepage
        You're forgetting that Australia is a nation that was founded by criminals. They are truly a nation where everyone was once a criminal.

        And America was founded by puritans. Australians are forever grateful that we got the better deal.

        Back to reality, Australia was neither founded by criminals nor was everyone once a criminal. Australia was founded by the British as a penal colony. God bless America for doing a bang up job on your education.

      • by CRC'99 (96526) on Tuesday December 27, 2005 @11:35PM (#14349798) Homepage
        It's interesting that nearly EVERY comment is about Australia being founded by criminals. Do they teach nothing more than that in other places around the world?

        What about the fact that it's the country (a government department no less!) that invented 802.11g?

        What about the fact that a hell of a lot of healthcare stuff is started in Australia?

        I remember reading something a while ago about the bionic ear was an Australian invention, and probably a ton of other stuff...
      • Australia is a nation that was founded by criminals

        Not really. The British, after losing the North American colonies they used to ship criminals to, used some parts of Australia for the same purpose. Some cities, such as Melbourne and Adelaide, were not penal colonies. I've also read that more people were deported to the North American colonies than to the Australian ones (googling for stats is left as an exercise for the reader). Our only "mistake" was not to revolt against the British.

  • But yet to be decided is whether a levy will be slapped on the store price of blank CDs and MP3 players, such as iPods, to compensate artists for the revenue they stand to lose under the new laws.

    But didn't this law change come about because it was a law that just about everybody was breaking anyway? So nothing changes. So what do the artists lose under the new laws??
  • Wow, I didn't know about these laws. Were they enforced often, or just placed on the books so that they could say they did, and then largely ignored? If they're as wide-reaching as they seem (I didn't RTFA), there's no way they could be enforced enough to modify people's behavior, right?
    • Re:Any Enforcement? (Score:5, Informative)

      by OzJimbob (129746) on Tuesday December 27, 2005 @10:48PM (#14349619) Homepage
      Nah, they were rarely enforced. Most people don't know they exist, and that's fair enough, because you assume if you buy a CD you have the right to make a copy of it for yourself. That makes sense. The laws against it don't. It's only with the rise of portable MP3 players that the media has picked up on the fact that, before the recent opening of the Australian iTunes store, there was almost no legal use for an iPod in Australia, yet they were selling in their thousands.
    • Re:Any Enforcement? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Chuck Chunder (21021) on Tuesday December 27, 2005 @10:55PM (#14349646) Homepage Journal
      "These laws" are just Australia's standard copyright legislation. Our "fair use" rights don't include time shifting. It's just the way it's always been but has been routinely ignored (or unknown) by the general public and no-one is really going to sue you for it because (I believe) it would be a civil case where all they could gain are "damages" which would be so minimal as to not be worth the effort (As it's just single use in the home the inflationary costing that peer to peer copying allows them to claim isn't there).

      While this is being suggested as a "win" for the people I'd expect there is strong motivation from business to sort this out too. It doesn't suit them for copyright law to be seen as flexible and routinely ignored now that distribution is so easy for people to do.
    • by AtrN (87501) * on Tuesday December 27, 2005 @11:48PM (#14349858) Homepage
      Were they enforced often

      True story...

      At the last federal election I rock up to the polling place, a school not too far from my house. I just walked up, got the iPod going so I don't have to listen to the local "party members" trying to hand me how to vote forms. As I walk in this guy, talking to someone on his left, bumps into me. I turn around, he turns around. It's fucking John Howard (prime minister of Oz if you don't know) - his office is just up the road from the school and he'd wandered down for a meet-and-greet. I just kept going.

      He did nothing! There I was, fragantly defying the law of the land and our fearless leader, otherwise known as "the rodent", did nothing. He had his security guys there. He could of tackled me himself. Grabbed me and made a citizen's arrest or something. But he did nothing. Weak on law he is. Weak!

      • He did nothing! There I was, fragantly defying the law of the land and our fearless leader did nothing.

        Maybe he had a sensitive nose and couldn't approach due to the smell.
    • by timbo234 (833667)
      The interesting thing is that when talk turns to MP3s, iPods and CD-ripping most people will have some idea that its 'illegal' in some way. Almost no one will let this modify their behaviour in any way though. However when it comes to old analogue technologies most people will have no idea that there is anything illegal about what they're doing. Literally just about every Australian home has had a VCR in it since the things first became popular back in the 80s or whenever it was. They're necessary in a coun
  • by Ruff_ilb (769396) on Tuesday December 27, 2005 @10:35PM (#14349566) Homepage
    I don't think anyone's going to be breathing a sigh of relief because the law seemed both unenforced and unenforcable. If it really made criminals of most of the population, then the average citizen probably didn't worry about this law much, if at all.

    OTOH, I like seeing Australia taking a more friendly stance on this. Although the change will mean very little for the citizens, it's a message that they're declaring this stance instead of leaving it de facto.
  • But yet to be decided is whether a levy will be slapped on the store price of blank CDs and MP3 players, such as iPods, to compensate artists for the revenue they stand to lose under the new laws.

    ...which is easier than working for a living.

    We had the levy for cassette tape decades ago. I think we can assume it will go on this time as well.

  • Moral vs Legal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stan Vassilev (939229) on Tuesday December 27, 2005 @10:44PM (#14349602)
    I seriously doubt someone had unclear conscience while trying to copy his own CD-s to his own mp3 player.
    Again brainwashing in action to make what's moral and what's legal the same thing.

    If they outlaw living should I have bad conscience for being alive?

    • Dunno about living, but some town in Brazil recently outlawed dying. There's just gotta be some way of modding these sorts of things +sqrt(-1) for being nuts.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Yes, Australia started out as a group of penal colonies (mostly)...
    Yes, There were a lot of penal settlements...
    However, most of the people sentenced for transportation were sentenced for quite petty "crimes", say, stealing a loaf of bread or poaching a rabbit so their kids didn't die of starvation.... obviously a hanging offense. It was the 18th century equivalent of running a red light. They still managed to tame the harshest continent on earth and prosper, creating one of the greatest egalitarian societi
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Is this the same egalitarian community that wouldn't consider even people from Southern Europe for citizenship (until the late 70s), because they weren't "white enough"? The same one that has a huge Southeast-Asian worker underclass and rampant discrimination against non-Christians and non-whites? The same one that has recently been found to be FATTER on average than the United States (taking the coveted fattest nation in the world title)? The same country that took the land of their own Aboriginal nativ
    • Add in the worlds best beaches, coral reefs, rainforests, snow country [...]

      Yer dreamin'.

  • Fair Use (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Freaky Spook (811861)
    Australia never had Fair Use laws in copyright, it was always just assumed it was ok, now I guess its good there is legislation to protect the consumer.

    Australias has to adopt DMCA under the Australian/American Free Trade agreement so I guess its a little late for this now though.

    • Australia does have Fair Use (or "Fair Dealing") provisions in copyright, it's just that home recording/time shifting isn't one of those provisions.

      Australian Fair Dealing provisions allow for:
      - research or study
      - criticism or review
      - reporting of news
      - professional advice given by a legal practitioner or patent attorney
    • Re:Fair Use (Score:3, Informative)

      by Frogbert (589961)
      Actually as much as I hate the many unfair provisions with relation to copyright law that Australia now needs to adopt, the fact is that we actually had DMCA laws before America. I'm going to have to move to New Zealand at this rate.
  • Advertising (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Ribbo.com (885396)
    The bigger worry is for the TV channels who stand to lose the most from advertising revenues. More and more people record shows off television simply so they can watch it later to skip through the adverts. If advertisers stop paying premium rates for prime time television, then there is a big risk the quality of the shows will go down due to large inshow advertising "hi joey, i see your enjoying a thirst quenching sprite!" because it's the only way to get the adverts to be watched (assuming people actually
    • Re:Advertising (Score:2, Insightful)

      "then there is a big risk the quality of the shows will go down "
      Is it really possible for the quality of commercial prime time TV in Australia to sink lower?
    • More and more people record shows off television simply so they can watch it later to skip through the adverts. If advertisers stop paying premium rates for prime time television, then there is a big risk the quality of the shows will go down

      The quality shows all end up on cable anyway, where they get much better treatment than they get at the free-to-air networks. As with so many things, "you get what you pay for".

    • The bigger worry is for the TV channels who stand to lose the most from advertising revenues

      You know what?

      Fuck television stations. Fuck advertising revenues. Fuck people in general, because they've allowed marketing in general, including advertising, to completely brainwash them.

      In the U.S., most over-the-air broadcast channels and all of the non-premium cable/satellite channels fill up every hour of airtime with 20 minutes of advertising. And most idiot Americans who watch four hours of TV a da

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 27, 2005 @11:15PM (#14349725)
    The question I have never seen addressed is how levies on the sale of blank CD/DVD media is/may be divided up by such organisations such as the RIAA or ARIA (Australia) and given to artists. It may be all well and good to say that the money goes to artists, but in practice I very much doubt it, it is just going to go into the general coffers of the relevant recording industry association to use as they see fit.

    So, does anyone know where there is a published policy of how such money does supposedly get allocated to artists?
  • by IntelliAdmin (941633) on Tuesday December 27, 2005 @11:27PM (#14349765) Homepage
    I see the day when we will have the same restrictions. Look at the MPAA, RIAA. They are constantly trying to close the "Analog Hole". They want to make it illegal to timeshift. How well do you think your TIVO will work when you can only get the signal via their box. They provide one you say? Guess what happens when there is no competition in any given field? The choices suck.
  • by l33tlamer (916010) on Tuesday December 27, 2005 @11:37PM (#14349809)
    [US President]: Hey, I hear that you are letting your minions copying CDs down there. You do remember the agreement we had right?
    [AUS President]: huh?
    [US President]: The FREE trade agreement?
    [AUS President]: Oh yeah, I forgot. Don't worry, should be fixed in a jiffy. Btw, I got to get back to Australia in a week. The people seems to get a bit worried when their president is away for more than a few months.
    [US President]: Ok, I guess I can replace you with an intern. Go ahead and get out from underneath my desk.

    All hail to our Yanky overlords. I, as an Australian, welcome our inclusion into the United States of America as its newest state. I also welcome renaming our parliament to "Congress" and our Prime Minister to "President". One can only hope that the states will outsource its prison facilities over here.
    • One can only hope that the states will outsource its prison facilities over here.

      I thought the British Empire tried that once already?

      *rimshot*
      • Indeed. This country was built on convict labour. The early settlers had convict labourers who were essentially state sanctioned slaves who worked to pay off their sentence. Most of this seemed to happen down in Van Deimans land (Tasmania). Two-time offenders would end up in prisons such as Port Arthur and Sarah Island. A childrens prison was created on an island just off Port Arthur called Point Peur. The children arriving at such a prison were often poor street kids who were sent to Van Deimans land for m
  • Good for Australia.
  • Not criminals! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by the packrat (721656) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @12:08AM (#14349949) Homepage

    Just to insert a little sanity here. In Australia, most copyright violations are prosecuted in the civil courts (exceptions include sale of couterfeit goos, called 'passing off'). It is only in corrupt countries where the media corporations can easily buy new laws that such things have fallen under criminal prosecution.

    Let's not even begin to talk about the DCMA, the shiny new laws which make videotaping a movie in a theatre more heavily punished than several types of killing, or the perpetual copyright on Mickey Mouse or anything else that american corporations bother to pay supreme court justices for.

  • Oh hey RIAA do you want to tie your own noose or should we just let Australia do it for you?
  • But yet to be decided is whether a levy will be slapped on the store price of blank CDs and MP3 players, such as iPods, to compensate artists for the revenue they stand to lose under the new laws.

    They're kidding, right? What about the people who fill those CDs with linux installers, photos, and the countless gazillions of other things that aren't pirated music, or buy songs for their iPod from iTunes?

    • well, they'll get the charge as well.
      Welcome to taxing.
      Quite frankly, at this point I would pay 10 cents more per cd, if in exchange people could copy, swap, rip and burn all they want without repercutions.

    • No kidding.

      Notice how they're not talking about changing a single thing (most people weren't even aware of the illegality of their actions), and yet by making common behavior legal, they now need to "compensate" the artists? What would they be compensated for? The law isn't currently changing anyone's behavior, nor would the new law! Besides, what about the fact that Australians already pay more for music than Americans?

      eg. On today's exchange rate, songs on iTunes cost about $1.23 USD. Also, the co

  • Won't be Long... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NixLuver (693391) <stwhite&kcheretic,com> on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @12:30AM (#14350024) Homepage Journal
    Before the US Congress is passing a resolution to refuse to co-operate with Australia unless they change their laws to protect American IP again, as they were -

    because we all know that this is *exactly* what the RIAA wants here Stateside, right? To make you buy the CD, buy the MP3, and then buy it again when the license expires.
  • by LordLucless (582312) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @12:56AM (#14350114)
    While I (as an Australian citizen) would be first to say this is a good thing, let's not get all excited. What this is giving us is nothing more than what our yankee friends have had for years - the ability to time-shift and format-shift. And what's more, they're talking of making us pay for it, in the form of a media levy.

    On the other hand, it is a pleasant surprise to see a government actually taking a look at reality, and adjusting it's laws thusly, rather than trying to do it the other way around.
  • by samj (115984) * <samj@samj.net> on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @12:59AM (#14350122) Homepage
    Having spent a fair bit of time eyeballing the intellectual property provisions of the FTA back when I was living in Australia (and thus more concerned about it than I am now), I was pretty sure that we've agreed to criminalise copying CDs (or was that bypassing Technical Prevention Measures (TPMs) which are increasingly common these days). Anyway, we're confusing the issues. We SHOULD be able to copy CDs for our own purposes (I'd much rather carry an iPod with my entire collection than a backpack of CDs, many of which are irreplacible). We SHOULD NOT be able to steal music using P2P software et al. The cost of criminalising the former in the name of preventing the latter is too great.

    We also did some other stupid things to ensure 'justice' prevailed, including telling judges how to do their job by insisting that they consider the retail value of copies even if that is not realised (ie if your 10y/o son downloads the latest Disney tripe, selling at the time for AUD50 as a DVD, and it sits in [insert your favourite P2P software here] for 6 months during which time 100,000 copies are made then you are to be tried for AUD5,000,000 of piracy despite having nothing to show for it but an AUD10,000 Telstra bill).

    There I go confusing the issues again... downloading from P2P networks IS theft (even in a world where CD/DVD prices are extortionate); making the most of your intellectual property license (ie CD/DVD purchase) by transforming the work into more convenient formats is not.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      "There I go confusing the issues again... downloading from P2P networks IS theft"

      What if I already own the CD? whom exactly, is now missing the song I alledgedly stole?

      No, at worse it is copyright infringment, which should be a civil matter.

      Perhaps using clear and accurate language you wouldn't confuse the issue so much?


    • There I go confusing the issues again... downloading from P2P networks IS theft (even in a world where CD/DVD prices are extortionate); making the most of your intellectual property license (ie CD/DVD purchase) by transforming the work into more convenient formats is not.


      You really are quite confused, aren't you? Downloading from P2P, or any other type of network, is not theft...it's not even a copyright violation unless you live in a jurisdiction that requires the author's permission and that permission wa
  • "We should not treat everyday Australians who want to use technology to enjoy copyright material they have obtained legally as infringers where this does not cause harm to our copyright industries."

    I wonder who's running around with the cluestick? EFA?
  • "But yet to be decided is whether a levy will be slapped on the store price of blank CDs and MP3 players, such as iPods, to compensate artists for the revenue they stand to lose under the new laws."
  • Possibly the fastest way to show how out-of-date the copyright laws are in a country like Australia or New Zealand (where it is technically illegal to format-shift or record shows or whatever) is to sue someone on behalf of the Music Industry as a "friend".

    Make a public warning ahead of the actual action, publically stating that some unnamed poor sod will be legally sued into oblivion, and then follow through with the threat (and any subsequent appeals.

    Of course, finding a person to do this and take all t

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