Google submission hammers section 92A

Google has made a detailed submission to the Telecommunications Carriers Forum that heavily criticises the draft code of practice for ISPs in relation to section 92A of the Copyright Act.

Google has made a detailed submission to the Telecommunications Carriers Forum that heavily criticises the draft code of practice for ISPs in relation to section 92A of the Copyright Act.

In its submission, Google notes that more than half (57%) of the takedown notices it has received under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act 1998, were sent by business targeting competitors and over one third (37%) of notices were not valid copyright claims.

As such, Google says "Section 92A puts users’ procedural and fundamental rights at risk, by threatening to terminate users’ internet access based on mere allegations and reverse the burden of proof onto a user to establish there was no infringement."

It goes on to say, "Section 92A undermines the incredible social and economic benefits of the open and universally accessible internet, by providing for a remedy of account termination or disconnection that is disproportionate to the harm of copyright infringement online."

The submission also takes issue with the claim that user education is stated as a “primary purpose” of the draft code, "but there is little reference to education about users’ rights, including limitations and exceptions enabling lawful use of copyright protected works, in addition to their obligations."

In line with other submissions, Google also calls for an independent adjudicator to evaluate evidence and determine if infringement has taken place. And, its says, acknowledgement should be made of the possible defences and exceptions to copyright infringement.

Finally, Google is not happy with the notion of "processing fees" being applied to infringement notices. It wants to know details of these fees and what basis they would be charged on.

In a shot across the bows of those driving Section 92A, Google also firmly stakes out its ground as regards copyright in the online world.

"While inadequate copyright protection can reduce incentives to create, excessive copyright

protection can stifle creativity, choke innovation, impoverish culture and block free and fair

competition. As both an intermediary and an innovator in online technologies, Google supports a

flexible and adaptable legal framework that provides those who create and invest in new

technologies the freedom to innovate without fear that their efforts will be hindered by an overly

restrictive approach to copyright. Copyright must have sufficient flexibility so that new,

legitimate and socially desirable uses, enabled by new technologies, can flourish."

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Ted Gibbons

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