Friday, September 13, 2013

Time to shut down Skynet

Back in 2011, the government passed the "Skynet" law, creating a three-strikes regime for online copyright infringement. The idea was that this would reduce piracy. The problem? It doesn't:

New research from Monash University has found "three strikes" or graduated response laws introduced to reduce internet-borne copyright infringement are by and large ineffective and do not steer users towards legitimate sources of content.

Written by Rebecca Giblin at Monash University's Faculty of Law, the research paper found no connection between graduated response regimes and reduced piracy.

"There is no evidence demonstrating a causal connection between graduated response and reduced infringement. If 'effectiveness” means reducing infringement, then it is not effective,' Giblin concluded.

The study specifically looked at New Zealand, and found that pirates had simply shifted technology, using VPNs, offshore seedboxes and cyberlockers to access the same material. While there was some decrease in estimated overall piracy, there had also been an increase in legal and cheap means to access material (so a reduction in the market failure causing it), meaning it was difficult to credit that decrease to the law.

So, we have an ineffective law, which leads to significant injustice. Such a law should not be on our books. I agree with the Greens: the Skynet law should be repealed.