Government releases new online copyright infringement research

The Government has released research into the extent of online copyright infringement in Australia and why people choose to consume content illegally. The results show that Australia's levels of infringement outweigh those in the UK, especially for movies but also for music, TV and video games. The main reason people surveyed download illegal content is because it is free. The research also highlights which factors would most likely deter infringers and also that many internet users are unaware of what constitutes legal content online. 

The Government's media release and the research can be found here.

Digital Radio Report on licensing permanent digital radio  services in Regional Australia

The Government has released the Department of Communications' Digital Radio Report. Recommendations in the report include that the Government should not set a timetable for analogue radio switch off as yet or reintroduce the moratorium on the ACMA issuing digital-only commercial radio licences in mainland state capital cities. It also recommends that ACMA decides where and when digital radio services should commence, that industry work alongside ACMA to establish a Digital Radio Planning Committee for Regional Australia chaired by ACMA and that the Government consider allowing broadcasters to choose the mode(s) in which they deliver their radio services.

The Minister for Communications is required to conduct reviews into digital radio issues under the Broadcasting Services Act  and the Radiocommunications Act. This report addresses both those reviews and reflects that digital radio is unlikely to replace analogue in the near future.

The Government's media release and the Report can be found here.

Broadcasting events notice expands digital multichannel premiered events

The Broadcasting Services (Events) Notice (No. 1) 2010 (Amendment No. 7 of 2015) (the Notice) was made by the Minister for Communications  under subsections 115(1A) and (2) of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (the BSA). The Notice amended the Broadcasting Services (Events) Notice (No. 1) 2010 (the Principal Notice) to remove certain events from the Principal Notice in order to allow the events to be premiered on a "free-to-air" television digital multichannel. The notice also amended the Principal Notice to remove a number of spent provisions and to correct drafting errors in relation to United States Open Tennis and FIFA World Cup tournaments.  Previously, the listed events needed to be first or simultaneously shown on the broadcaster's primary channel. The affected sporting events can be seen in the Amendment here.  

The Explanatory Statement can be found here.

Telecommunications Sector Security Reforms

As noted in our June Telco Update, on 26 June 2015 the Attorney-General and Minister for Communications released the Government's proposal for security reforms in the telecommunications sector by issuing in draft form the Telecommunications and other Legislation Amendment Bill 2015, Explanatory Memorandum and Regulatory Impact Statement. The draft bill imposes a duty on carriers, CSPs and carriage service intermediaries to protect telecommunications networks and facilities from security risks and provide information related to the protection duty. The draft bill also contains powers for the government to give certain directions to a carrier, CSP or carriage service intermediary, including to not use a carriage service.

 Our alert on this can be found here.

Expanded Film Classification Exceptions

The Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) (Modifications of Films) Instrument 2015 adds to the statutory exceptions to the modification rule for films currently under the Classification (Publications, Films and  Computer Games) Act 1995 by providing for a greater range of modifications to films that do not require classification again. The instrument covers four types of film modifications: a black and white film that has been coloured in full or in part; a colour film that has been changed to black and white in full or in part; an analogue film that has been converted to a digital format or a film in digital format that has been converted to an analogue format, for example to 35mm or 8mm. 

The 2015 Instrument can be found here and the Explanatory Statement here.

Expanded Computer Game Classification Exceptions

The Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) (Modifications of Computer Games) Instrument 2015 provides for a greater range of modifications to computer games that do not require classification again under the Classification (Publications, Films and  Computer Games) Act 1995 by covering modifications of a "minor and/ or technical nature",  as defined. These exceptions will only apply if the modification does not affect the computer game’s original classification. If the game’s classification is affected by the modification, the modified version is unclassified. 

The 2015 Instrument can be found here and the Explanatory Statement here.