Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015: Assent

This new law allows a copyright owner or an exclusive licensee to apply to the Federal Court of Australia for an order requiring a carriage service provider to take "reasonable steps" to disable access to an "online location" where the primary purpose of the online location is to infringe, or to facilitate the infringement of, copyright.

The Bill was assented to on 26 June 2015 and the law commenced on 27 June 2015.

A copy of the Act can be found here.

The Senate's Report into the Bill can be found here and our alert on the report can be found here. Our alert on the new law can be found here

Treasury Legislation Amendment (Small Business and Unfair Contract Terms) Bill 2015

Just before the Parliamentary winter break, the government introduced a Bill that would give small business protection against unfair standard contract terms. This Bill will amend the ASIC Act 2001 and the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) set out in in the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. 

A copy of our alert on the Bill can be found here.

A copy of the Bill can be found here and the Explanatory Memorandum here.

The Legislative and Governance Forum on Consumer Affairs has endorsed the passing of the Bill.  The Commonwealth Treasury's Decision Regulation Impact Statement prepared on behalf of Consumer Affairs Australia and New Zealand can be found here.

Consultation for Reform: Security of Telecommunications Networks

The Government is seeking comment on a draft Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 to strengthen the security of data storage and transmission. The legislation includes obligations on all carriers, carriage service providers and carriage service intermediaries, such as to notify security agencies of any potential risk. In addition, but only as a last resort, the legislation gives the Attorney-General's Department direction and information gathering powers and introduces civil penalties for enforcement.

The draft Explanatory Memorandum and Regulatory Impact Statement are available here.

Submissions close on 31 July 2015.

The Government's Press Release and Exposure Draft can be found here.

We expect to provide an alert on the Draft shortly.

ACCC recommends higher transparency for NBN Co

The ACCC has released a report recommending that NBN Co disclose more information about the NBN rollout. The recommendations include that NBN Co provide regular reports to interested stakeholders and maintain lists regarding what has been disclosed. Another main recommendation is that, where information has been disclosed to Telstra, the documents should also be made available to relevant stakeholders. A final recommendation to note is that NBN Co should not disclose to Telstra or any other service provider information about a customer's choice of NBN service provider, except when necessary to resolve that customers' migration problems. The report will inform the Minister of Communications' decision regarding a potential carrier licence condition for NBN Co.

The ACCC's media release and a copy of the report can be found here.

ACCC draft decision on fixed line services requires one-off uniform fall of 9.6% in access prices

The ACCC has released a draft decision (further to its March 2015 draft decision) on the prices other operators are to pay to use Telstra's copper network for access services.  The 0.7% one-off uniform fall in access prices that was estimated in March has been revised to a fall of 9.6% and the new prices will apply from 1 October 2015 -30 June 2019. The drop is mainly due to the transition to the NBN.

Submissions on the draft decision are due by 5 pm Friday 17 July 2015.

The ACCC media release and a link to the decision can be found here.

ACMA Paper on Decency, Classification and Harm and Offence

The ACMA has released a paper on how it decides where to draw the line on what content is offensive only to some individuals and what content simply should not be broadcast at all.  This paper forms part of the ACMA's investigation concepts series and the ACMA welcomes feedback and suggestions for further topics.

The ACMA's media release and the paper can be found here.

ACMA Paper on self-regulation to address "new" internet risks

The ACMA has expanded the scope of its occasional paper "Optimal conditions for effective self- and co-regulatory arrangements" to include the so-called "new" risks of internet-enabled (IP) technology and services.

The ACMA's media release and a copy of the paper can be found here.

Feedback can be provided to Regframe@acma.gov.au.

Proposed regulatory changes for faster broadband

The Government released a consultation paper proposing to extend the powers and immunities of telecommunications carriers in order to complete the NBN rollout faster and at a lower cost to taxpayers.

Submissions are due by Friday 10 July 2015.

The Government's media release, consultation paper and draft amendments can be found here.

Regional Telecommunications Review 2015  Issues Paper

Every 3 years, a review is conducted into telecommunications services in rural and remote parts of Australia by a Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee established under Part 9B of theTelecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1999. The Terms of Reference for the review are as set out in s 158P of the Act.

Submissions are due by Wednesday 15 July 2015 to secretariat@rtirc.gov.au.

A copy of the Issues Paper can be found here.