Australian telecom industry body Communications Alliance has developed a national standard for ISPs' obligations in dealing with piracy by their users.
Under the proposed voluntary scheme, ISPs would be required to send out a series of notices to users caught infringing copyright, if presented with evidence from rights holders – but not to disconnect repeat offenders.
Upon the first complaint from a rights holder, the ISP would send out an education notice informing users of copyright law. If further complaints are received, ISPs would the send out three warning notices.
If a the third warning notice is sent out in a 12-month period, copyright holders would be entitled to subpoena details of the internet account in question. The notices would be able to be appealed to a panel jointly funded by ISPs and copyright holders.
The proposed code is the industry's attempt to appease copyright owners, which have been accused of using the court system to try to bring to Australia “three strikes” style rules, where copyright violators are liable to have their connections cut off or degraded.
The Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) has been suing iiNet, Australia's third-largest ISP, seeking to have the operator – and by extension the nation's other ISPs - ruled responsible for piracy by their users.
While iiNet has won the case and the first subsequent appeals, the wins have not been unequivocal, with the verdicts suggesting that iiNet could have sent out warning notices to users as a reasonable response to infringement complaints.