George Brandis is a hypocrite

George Brandis wants to strengthen Australia’s Intellectual Property laws:

It involves three main proposals, but the big one is overturning the important iiNet decision that highlighted that ISPs are protected from liability for users infringing, because they’re not the proactive party. In other words, under that ruling, ISPs can’t be forced to be copyright cops. Brandis’ plan would wipe that out, requiring ISPs to spy on user activity and try to block any “bad stuff” from happening, or they would face liability …

The second part of the proposal is basically Australia’s version of SOPA. It would allow for website blocking of “infringing overseas sites.” And it would be like the original SOPA, with a “private right of action,” allowing entire websites to be blocked on the say so of the copyright holder. …

The final piece of the plan appears to be an attempt to buy off internet companies that are likely to oppose this plan, in that it extends safe harbor protections to more of them. Basically, this is a cynical ploy to try to split the obvious opposition of this plan.

(HT: Old Misery Guts)

Did you hear what Brandis said?

There is a very strong public interest in the protection of private property and that includes intellectual property …

Not that I disagree – but what evidence exists to support that Brandis actually believes that notion? What evidence exists to support the idea that the protection of private property is supported by Australian law? Let’s look no further than the plain packaging laws:

But the six judges who ruled against the challenge said while the government had imposed rules and regulations on the tobacco companies, it was not using their property for its own benefit and so was not violating the constitution.

”Although the (Tobacco Plain Packaging) act regulated the plaintiffs’ intellectual property rights and imposed controls on the packaging and presentation of tobacco products it did not confer a proprietary benefit or interest on the Commonwealth,” a summary of the judgement said.

So property rights confer certain rights:

  • the right to use the property,
  • the right to earn income from the property,
  • the right to dispose of the property.

Yet the previous government – with the full support of the then opposition – legislated to deprive tobacco firms of, at least, two of those three rights.

Now online piracy, arguably, does not deprive intellectual property owners of any of their rights – it does reduce their profits but they are still in possession of all of their rights.

So Brandis needs to explain why and how Australian pirates are any different from him. Why does he think that online piracy is theft when private individuals engage in that activity, but government expropriation of intellectual property is acceptable?

Looking forward to his guest post on the issue.

This entry was posted in Economics and economy, Hypocrisy of progressives, Politics, Take Nanny down. Bookmark the permalink.

49 Responses to George Brandis is a hypocrite

  1. Infidel Tiger

    As the great Instapundit quipped yesterday:

    BOUGHT AND PAID FOR: Australian Government Proposes New Copyright Law: Basically Hollywood’s Wishlist.

    I say, repeal the Hollywood Tax Cuts!

    Indeed.

    http://pjmedia.com/instapundit/192337/#respond

  2. wreckage

    So, you don’t own your brands (cigs) and you don’t own your land (any and all forfeitures of usage for “GREEN” laws) but by golly Hollywood gets what it wants.

    Fuck you, Brandis.

  3. john constantine

    several good mates dedicate their online existance to cramming stacks of external hard drives with the maximum possible capacity of pirated content, i see it as a public service to reduce swampy hollywood/russian mafia/work made for hire exploiters profits. profits they are only going to squander politically or nasally.

    however, isn’t there a heap of pressure from overseas to stop aussie pirates as balance for australia being able to claw back tax revenue being exported untaxed by the smarties?.

  4. Supplice

    Focusing his energies in the wrong place, again. Can’t he at least learn a lesson from the Nuclear Milkman, Commissar Conroy, in that dicking around with the internet is polling poison?

  5. Gab

    Brandis is proving to be a First Class Asshole.

  6. Tom

    Brandis needs to explain why and how Australian pirates are any different from him.

    His answer is: because we are the government.

    He is a big government statist and the state in Australia is out of control. The Abbott Regime promised it Would be the exact opposite of what it is.

    I again dig out the David Mamet quote from earlier today to illustrate what a constitutionally weak banana republic Australia is, where fundamental rights can be voted away by politicians of an era on whim:

    The [US] Constitution, written by men with some experience of actual government, assumes that the chief executive will work to be king, the Parliament will scheme to sell off the silverware, and the judiciary will consider itself Olympian and do everything it can to much improve (destroy) the work of the other two branches. So the Constitution pits them against each other, in the attempt not to achieve stasis, but rather to allow for the constant corrections necessary to prevent one branch from getting too much power for too long.

    Time to get out of the way, you deadshit, and stop infringing on the liberty of Australian citizens, by whom you are employed.

  7. stackja

    The MPAA
    We are the voice of one of the country’s strongest and most vibrant industries – the American motion picture, home video and television industry. We aspire to advance the business and the art of filmmaking and celebrate its enjoyment around the world. Our members include: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures; Paramount Pictures Corporation; Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.; Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation; Universal City Studios LLC; and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

  8. incoherent rambler

    Methinks the left and right will unite on this (voters, not politicians).
    Electoral poison.

    Is there a competition between Hockey and Brandis? Who can do the most damage to the 2PP?

  9. john constantine

    who is going to bother with a ‘no piracy ‘ nbn?.

    good luck with that monolithic orwellian nbn sheltered workshop for swampies, 3 websites available-abc, roxons ‘don’t smoke’ and roxons ‘dont drink’.

    the cat available on illegal satellite dishes, hosted from the overseas home of the free australian resistance.

  10. entropy

    Brandis is a Manchurian candidate, just like quite a few others in the libs. If we wanted a bunch of nanny staters in charge we would have kept the previous mob.

    If you want to reduce piracy in this country, stop thieving mongrels Local copyright holders extorting ridicolous fees for content that lives in an American server anyway. In fact, if he is so dead keen on preventing property theft, maybe he should delete local digital copyright for foreign product altogether.

  11. Robert Crew

    What about reciprocity, mutual obligation, justice?

    For the sake of argument, I’d be prepared to consider the proposed changes on the same basis I would be prepared to consider the death penalty – only if the same or greater punishment applies in cases of prosecutorial misconduct or vexatious litigation. If the IP Mafia were fined in the tens of thousands and had their internet cut off for every false allegation they made, they would have bankrupted themselves before Napster.

    For every innocent man that hangs I want to see a see a prosecutor swing, and for every false DMCA take-down notice I want to see a law firm fined and delisted from the internet.

    Where is the wisdom of John Howard when we need it? He famously pooh-poohed the last version of this law (during the US-Aus FTA negotiations) by saying (roughly) his government would never prosecute Australian’s for watching TV in their bedrooms, no matter how they acquired it.

  12. Tel

    He is happy to ignore the natural property right, that people should enjoy ownership of their own bodies, while strengthening the already very strong government created property right that ISP’s must block traffic containing movies (which is frankly impossible at any rate, but no doubt gives an excuse for large amounts of money to change hands).

  13. wreckage

    We still pay tariffs on imported books, right? And we still give taxpayer’s money to film-makers. So yeah, like I said earlier: get fucked, Brandis.

  14. Grumbles

    The whole thinks reeks of amateurism, the scheme has zero chance of ever stopping anything, at best it’s going to ruin the lives of a scapegoat few. It’s akin to using a can of insect spray in the cow paddock to control the fly population.

  15. The whole thinks reeks of amateurism, the scheme has zero chance of ever stopping anything, at best it’s going to ruin the lives of a scapegoat few. It’s akin to using a can of insect spray in the cow paddock to control the fly population.

    Seriously, do you want something strong enough to be effective? The chance is not zero.

  16. incoherent rambler

    Memo to Tony Abbott:
    Your party’s shite approval rating is not all your fault!
    George Brandis is a major contributor.

  17. incoherent rambler

    How is the repeal of 18C going George?

  18. Grumbles

    Driftforge, I most definitely do not want anything effective. I take solace in knowing that short of a completely filtered internet, which would most likely spark an Australian revolution, there is very little at their disposal that can have much effect. Shutting down pirate bay would have near zero effect on down-loaders but they mention it every time. They are amateurs, they have no idea, Thank God.

  19. entropy

    You would think after what happened to red underpants Conroy they wouldn’t touch this proposal with a barge pole.

    Just do what Howard did, make available a free internet nanny application so interfering parents can place restrictions on what their 30 year old son gets up to while living in his childhood bedroom. Then the libs will have ‘done something’ about the evillll interwebs, while leaving the rest of us to get on with life rather than developing a special hatred of the liberal party that will be exercised by voting for internet freedom parties at the ballot box.

    Considering the Herculean task they have to fix up the mess left by the previous mob, they seem to have become so shxt scared of the responsibility they are focussing on vote sapping fripperies rather than getting on with it. It’s almost like they don’t want the job.

    Oh, wait….

  20. Yon Toad

    A hypocrite? A squealing disappointment more like.

  21. JC

    CL had Brandis pegged from the very beginning… years ago… referring to him as a closet lovie.

  22. C.L.

    Hate to say ‘I told you so.’

    Brandis is a phony.

    It’s all red meat for the troops but he’s a luvvie of Philip Adams proportions in practice.

  23. George Brandis thanks for NOTHING

    George Brandis is a hypocrite

    Well, bugger me.

    Who’da thunk it??

    Repeal of 18c in the bag, is it George? Got spare time to play Joe Hockey’s ‘How many votes can I lose today?’ game, do you?

    I didn’t expect much of Hockey and Turnbull and they are missing even those low benchmarks. Abbott is about par with expectations. Bishop is way out in front of expectations.

    But George, mate, in terms of disappointed expectations, you lead by a mile.

  24. George Brandis thanks for NOTHING

    Hate to say ‘I told you so.’

    Brandis is a phony.

    It’s all red meat for the troops but he’s a luvvie of Philip Adams proportions in practice.

    I wish you were wrong CL, but I hand it to you, you were dead right.

  25. Baldrick

    Brandis wants to censor the internet because …
    A) he wants Labor and Greens to win the next election?
    B) he is a closet lovie?
    C) he is a dickhead?
    D) all of the above

  26. Cronyism – changing the rules to benefit one party over another. Lobbyists are cronyists, pure and simple.

  27. Aussieute

    iinet follows up with a bog post that needs to be read by all

  28. incoherent rambler

    So cable and/or satellite internet into my house to a publicly accessible wifi with a range of 500 people.
    How does that law work George?
    You mean I am not allowed to configure my own wifi any longer?
    Or must the wifi signal stop at the back fence?
    It might be simpler to ban wifi and the Internet.

  29. Rich

    Oh Telstra are doing great work in this area

    Senator, remind me what does the ‘Tel’ in ‘Foxtel’ stand for?

    Does anyone else feel kind of dirty being on the same side as Ludlam?

  30. Monkey's Uncle

    There is a very strong public interest in the protection of private property and that includes intellectual property …

    Intellectual property rights are not really property at all. They are state granted monopoly rights and restrictions on competition. All a copyright or patent really amounts to is the government saying, ‘because you thought of something first, we will restrict others from replicating what you do for a certain period of time, in order to enable you to gain extra monopoly economic rents in the belief that this will act as an incentive for people to produce more new material’.

    While there is some public interest benefit in limited enforcement of intellectual property, overly zealous enforcement of intellectual property causes more harm than good.

  31. A H

    1. intellectual property rights have no place in Libertarianism
    2. the plain packaging regulation can be successfully attacked without bring intellectual property protection into it:
    - the cost of plain packaging to the taxpayer outweighs the benefit
    - the measures have unexpected consequences (cheaper cigarettes, higher consumption)
    - the government is telling a private company how it should conduct business ie violating freedom
    - health consequences of smoking are already covered under common law
    - you can’t force people to be be morally good — you can’t protect people from themselves etc.
    - the public health argument (poor health due to smoking increases medicare expenditure) — this is an argument against public healthcare.

    There is plenty of stuff there without having to go into intellectual property. The hypocrisy is on the side of the ‘Libertarians’ who ever brought IP into the plain packaging law debate.

  32. Clam Chowdah

    While there is some public interest benefit in limited enforcement of intellectual property, overly zealous enforcement of intellectual property causes more harm than good.

    What’s the benefit of limited enforcement?

    What are the harms referred to in the second part of your statement?

    Genuinely curious, as IP is something I don’t ponder often.

  33. Senile Old Guy

    The LNP is rapidly becoming indistinguishable from the ALP.

    Baldrick: (D) is clearly the answer.

    I didn’t vote for Rudd or Gillard. Nonetheless, I got what I expected.

    I voted for Abbott…and have never been more disappointed.

  34. Alex Davidson

    Genuinely curious, as IP is something I don’t ponder often.

    Stephan Kinsella has written extensively about why intellectual property is not in the same category as real property.

    As others have observed, the government does not generally protect private property in Australia, at least not in NSW and not when it is real property. Spend a few minutes browsing through the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act, the Threatened Species Conservation Act, the Native Vegetation Act, associated regulations, or any council’s LEP & DCP to see what I mean.

    The Big Government Parties have successfully indoctrinated us with the idea that control over the use of property is distinct from ownership, when in fact control over its use is the essence of it. It is going to take a very long time to undo the damage.

  35. Luke

    I find it highly suspicious that attorney-generals from different parties end up singing from the same song sheet once in office, despite voicing different opinions prior to office. Seems to me that particular interest groups have the direct lines to a number of public servants who then bring the Minsters and their staffers into the fold. I’d like to see some public reporting once Hollywood’s wish list becomes law on how many of them move to the public sector and to which companies.

    It’s time to ban any and all interest groups from any direct contact with government. No matter what they claim to represent. I work in government and see just how they have perverted democracy. No voter gets any access to government, but interest groups (and those who control them) have revolving door access and far more influence than any ordinary citizen, back-bencher or actual evidence based policy. No matter what the supposed cause they are all used by cunning individuals to increase their influence and wealth.

  36. Bugme

    is this the most pressing issues confronting the AG ??????…………from foxtel and telstra point of view I am sure it is…………unbelievable…………..and they wonder why people are voting for Palmer and co

  37. Joe

    I can never understand why the conservative side of politics never go for their opponents jugular.
    It is clear as a bell that “progressives” live on the IP side of industry.
    You want to give them something to bellyache about, reduce copyright to 1 year and patents to 2 years.
    Or better still, abolish both as a punishment for putting citizens through the “Labour” years.

  38. Alfonso

    It’s unlikely the LDP could ever produce a Brandis.
    Then Dave’s doing a good job chasing my vote.
    Today’s free political hint for the LDP is: make sure policy and emphasis passes the Tradies and Wives test template. Deal to micro regulation and statist badge wielders.

  39. thefrollickingmole

    Create an anti-cancer medicine after investing millions and a group of dedicated workers beavering away for a decade: Shelf life of your patent 20 years..

    Create a book, one talented person, patent:Shelf life, Life plus 20 odd years…

    IP is an incredible racket when it comes to media and the US giants should be told to GTFO for any attempt to enforce it.

  40. Grumbles

    IP laws should prevent others from profiting from you (direct financial gain). The down-loaders do no such thing.

  41. goatjam

    I voted for these LNP idiots although I had deep held suspicions that they would be a total disappointment when they got into power.

    On the upside, my political instincts appear to be working well.

    I will be voting LDP next time around (but I will still preference these cretins above the greenscum and liebor of course).

  42. Rococo Liberal

    It is really interesting that all the luvvies and the ALP supporters say that the Abbott government is a far right government in the pay of big business. Here they are saying the same government is too left wing.

    This could mean that they have got it about right.

  43. Peter57

    [best not to post while angry. Sinc]

  44. south

    This was bound to come up sooner or later; Hollywood’s lobbyist army have their tentacles everywhere and carry large bags of (a) ‘campaign support’ money and (b) threats to spend it on the Opposition should governments not agree to accept it.

    I only weep that the world’s genuinely useful industries, like IT, don’t have their shit together to lobby as efficiently. But no-one does limos, celebrities, hookers & blow quite like the entertainment world.

  45. Lawrie Ayres

    I recall John Howard getting the states to lock up farmers land to meet the ridiculous Kyoto restrictions on emissions. That was theft because it deprived a farmer of his property ( he couldn’t cut the timber for sale), it deprived him of income ( couldn’t use the land to generate income) and he couldn’t dispose of the property for it’s real value ( no one wants to buy a liability). If Brandis really wants to protect property rights he would tell the states to stop telling farmers how to run their properties and he would make sure they were compensated for their loss of income.

  46. EB

    I love how the liblabs still manage to convince people each time that “we’ll be different”.

    Get in and they pull the same jackbooted shit they claimed they wouldn’t or alternatively renege on getting rid of the other mob’s jackbooted shit, just in case they may need to use it one day.

  47. Percy

    It is really interesting that all the luvvies and the ALP supporters say that the Abbott government is a far right government in the pay of big business. Here they are saying the same government is too left wing.

    This could mean that they have got it about right

    .

    Clearly it means they are too left wing.

  48. Jeremy C Browne

    So where does this leave porn? Will that appalling pimp, Garion Hall, be able to sue someone with these proposed new laws? Any law that’s good for him is bad for Australia.

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