Not content with giving us the landmark Dow Jones v Gutnick case on online defamation (holding that publication takes place at the point of download) and the infamous and much-derided Broadcasting Services Amendment (Online Services) Act (regulating Australian-hosted and foreign-provided Internet content under a semi-broadcast framework applying to ISPs etc), I see that the good government of Australia is back to give us more!
The Communications Legislation Amendment (Content Services) Bill 2006 has been leaked, and is causing a blogostorm down under. The draft that escaped, though, would provide for a serious level of liability (and requirement for prescrutiny) for online content providers.
Peter Black argues that the Bill is wrong because:
- it would require online content providers to monitor material before it is put online;
- the chilling effect is magnified when you consider the range of content that is potentially covered by the Bill;
- it treats online publications and print publications differently;
- it is unclear as to exactly who is covered by the regime, and to the degree that it applies to individual bloggers or website owners it is far too broad and onerous;
- it is going to apply to any content service with even a tenuous link to Australia; and
- the regime introduces a clearly unworkable system for live streamed content.