Something was quietly reported on in ComputerWorld on 29th November 2018
It hardly ruffled any feathers then but in 2015 Greens Senator Scott Ludlum was very wary of a “website blocking scheme “proposed by the LNP government
Two of his concerns were that the scheme could expand over time & create the architecture for a second internet filter
The Environment and Communications Legislation Committee-Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement)-Bill 2018 report was tabled on the 26th November & page 21 has additional comments by Greens Senator Janet Rice
the full report is > here
Australian Greens’ additional comments
1.1 The Australian Greens are strongly supportive of both creative and innovative
industries in Australia. These fields are increasingly overlapping, as digital
distribution becomes more and more prevalent, which created both opportunities and
risks for content creators and service providers.
1.2 We will continue to work to ensure that the interests of both creative and
innovative industries are protected, and we do not believe that these two things are
mutually exclusive. Our future will be made brighter by Australian creators and
innovators working together to deliver Australian content to the world.
1.3 These two industries are fundamental to the future of work and play in our
country and the more support and protections we provide, the more we are investing
in jobs for young Australians into the future.
1.4 We suggest, as the Greens have contended in the past, that site-blocking is not
the most effective means of stopping piracy. Site-blocking does not stop people from
1.5 Rather, copyright is better addressed by making the content available:
conveniently, affordably, and in a timely way. We have seen this to great effect with
the popularity of Netflix in Australia and the impact on piracy.
1.6 We acknowledge that whilst the Bill is intended to address gaps within the
current scheme, unintended consequences of extending website blocking practices are
a concern that we hold and would like to further explore to ensure that free speech and
public discourse are not unduly affected.
Senator Janet Rice
As can see seen there could be very grave unintended consequences if the scheme was expanded
Page Five Looks worrying
1.18 In its Scrutiny Digest No. 13 of 2018, the Scrutiny of Bills Committee
expressed concern that the bill would permit the minister to declare, by legislative
instrument, that a particular online search engine provider or class of providers must
not be specified in an application for an injunction, or an application to vary an
injunction. The Scrutiny of Bills Committee emphasised that significant matters, such
as the specification of providers that are to be exempted from an injunctive scheme,
should be included in primary legislation unless a sound justification for the use of
delegated legislation is provided. The Scrutiny of Bills Committee also emphasised
that the proposed power is very broad, in that it would permit the minister to exclude
any online location from the operation of the injunctive scheme.15
1.19 The Scrutiny of Bills Committee requested the minister’s advice as to why it is
necessary to enable delegated legislation to exempt online search engine providers
from the copyright injunctive scheme, and the appropriateness of amending the bill to
as to specifically exclude certain classes of smaller providers.16
So here we have some providers that can be exempted from this bill while others are blanket covered for backdoor encryption gathering
This also give a broad scope to block websites as blocks rather than individual sites
TV Bodies & Foxtel
Is it all just about copyrights?
Page 9 expands to an injunctive regime which is clear as mud
2.9 Australian Film and TV Bodies and Foxtel argued that the existing test in
section 115A (that is, the ‘primary purpose’ test) may hinder or prevent the
achievement of the objectives of the injunctive regime, as the test is often difficult to
meet.9 Foxtel, for example, stated that:
It can be difficult in some circumstances to establish that some online
locations have the ‘primary purpose’ of infringing copyright (the current
threshold), even though that is the practical effect of the locations. This is
relevant to online file-hosting services, such as cyberlockers, which are
widely used to facilitate the unauthorised sharing of copyright material.10
50 Shades Of Grey Area
Page 10 shows very worrying developments that are possible & probable
2.12 The majority of submissions opposing the introduction of a ‘primary effect’
test raised concerns as to its breadth, emphasising that the current ‘primary purpose’
test sets an intentionally high threshold for copyright owners seeking injunctive relief.
The Australian Digital Alliance (ADA), Communications Alliance and the Pirate
Party Australia argued that lowering this threshold could result in the site blocking
scheme in section 115A being applied to online locations operated for legitimate
14 The ADA and the Communications Alliance further argued that this could
create difficulties for smaller businesses that lack the resources to invest in
sophisticated copyright removal technology.15 The ADA stated that the introduction of
a ‘primary effect’ test:
…ignores the reality that, due to the lack of general exemptions in our
[Copyright] Act, a large number of innocent and everyday activities
currently infringe copyright in Australia, including generating memes, autotranslation,
cloud storage, caching and indexing, and sharing screenshots of
websites…This means that sites which are perfectly legal in other
jurisdictions with more internet-appropriate copyright laws, such as the
United States, infringe copyright in Australia.16
Please do read pages 10-16 of the report because it gets very interesting
2.34 The ADA, Communications Alliance and Google argued that there is little, if
any, evidence to suggest that orders extending the application of an injunction are
slow or expensive to obtain.45 In this respect, Google noted that the Federal Court in
Foxtel Management Pty Ltd v TPG Internet Pty Ltd & Ors stated that the Court may
be willing to act on very little in the way of additional evidence in the case of a
variation to injunction,46 adding that in Roadshow Films Pty Ltd v Telstra
Corporation Limited, the Court made an order that:
….specifically addressed the issue that the…Bill is said to address. Namely,
the order provides a very simple and effective method for the applicants to
get site blocking orders in respect of websites that begin to operate from a
different Domain Name, IP Address or URL after the date of the initial
order. It is hard to conceive of a simpler process that maintained proper
oversight than the one formulated by his Honour Justice Nicholas.47
Then page 17 has this jewel >Ministerial power to exclude online search engine providers
2.37 Proposed subsection 115A(8B) seeks to enable the minister, by legislative
instrument, to declare that online search engine providers, or classes of such
providers, be exempt from the injunctive scheme in section 115A.
Page 19 concludes the report with two recommendations
2.48 The committee recommends that the government review the effectiveness
of the measures contained in the bill two years after its enactment.
2.49 The committee recommends that the Senate pass the bill.
Senator Jonathon Duniam
Here`s What I find Worrying
Whats to stop this developing into something far far more sinister very easily?
Example – Wikileaks https://wikileaks.org/-Leaks-.html
Whats to stop this site from being blocked by the “online infringement bill 2018”?
Or other news sites that the corporate media status quo don`t agree with,effectively creating the Department Of Truth
Denial of all free speech is possible with the tools available in this bill and the ability for journalists to check sources international or Independent onshore news gathering sites can/could be cut off
The Greens backed this bill with the LNP & the dangers within it went by without a whimper
How suspicious is it that close to 80% of media is in the control of Murdoch & with Stokes having his Channel 7 plus anything West Australian that this was not big news?