Copyright events are about as pleasant as medieval dentistry. Too many suits, too many lawyers, too many bad jokes, and rarely anything new gets said. Last night’s Online Copyright Infringement Forum was no exception. The theme of the evening was “Evidence? What evidence?” as this post will demonstrate.
The first thing I noticed was who was on the panel. There was just one content creator, writer/producer Peter Duncan, who remained disturbingly quiet throughout the whole event. The remaining six panelists were representatives of copyright holders (Village Roadshow and APRA/AMCOS), Internet service providers (Telstra and iiNet), broadcasters (Foxtel) and consumer advocates (Choice). As was said later by an audience member later in the event: no one on the panel was representative of new business models (though Will Page of Spotify was in the audience and spoke very briefly).
The event was chaired (or moderated) by the Minister for Communications, Malcolm Turnbull. The Attorney-General, Senator George Brandis, couldn’t attend because apparently he had a cabinet meeting. You would think, as the “Online Copyright Infringement” discussion paper emanated from his department, he would take time off from ruining our country to attend. Interestingly he didn’t attend the last conference I was at either, despite being the keynote speaker. He doesn’t seem good too at conferences. Having said that, when I did hear him speak at a conference I felt like throwing the 400 page Australian Law Reform Commission report at him after he said he remained to be persuaded that Australia should implement a fair use system similar to that of the United States, despite that being what the Commission had recommended.Read more …